Tommy Pham’s eyesight has a long-documented history. In 2008 he was diagnosed with keratoconus, which Pham has said has left him legally blind in left eye.
It is probably pretty difficult to play baseball like that.
But Pham did. And he was pretty good. He was a very productive player in the minors and that carried over to his major-league career. In 356 plate appearances he accumulated 1.7 fWAR. That is an above-average player over a full season. Of course, we all saw in 2017 was Pham was truly capable of when given a full season to play.
It all might not have been possible if were not for a homerun hit while he played for Quad Cities, Iowa, per Scott Miller of Bleacher Report:
... Pham smashes a home run one summer’s night in a Class A game, and upon his return to the dugout, one of his teammates asks him what kind of pitch he hit out.
”Fastball,” Pham replies confidently.
Some murmuring ensues. Every one of his teammates who saw the swing says, uh, no, Tommy, that was a slider.
”And when I saw the video, they were right, and I was wrong,” says Pham...
So he visited a LensCrafters near the River Bandits’ ballpark and was fitted for glasses. By year’s end, he abandoned them because he didn’t think they were helping...
Later that September, Pham was diagnosed with keratoconus by a St. Louis eye specialist.
Looking for anything at all, Pham tried a new surgical procedure to help prevent further eye erosion in 2011 and was fitted for special contacts. Tommy Pham discusses this and more in a wonderful article by Scott Miller of Bleacher Report.
Cardinals fans sure are grateful Tommy Pham told his teammates the wrong pitch ten years ago. Cardinals fans sure are grateful for the surgery that corrected Pham’s eyes. Cardinals fans sure are grateful that Tommy Pham paid out of his own pocket for corrective contact lenses. Cardinals fans sure are grateful for Tommy Pham.
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