Baseball and the vision thing . . .
We read where Dan Uggla, he of the huge arms and low batting average, has undergone laser eye surgery to repair his vision and hopefully raise his batting average.
Supposedly, the surgery has corrected Uggla’s vision to 20-15, which means he will see better than 20-20, which is what many folks consider to be perfect vision.
Turns out, 20-20 vision is normal vision. 20-20 doesn’t mean perfect. 20/20 indicates tha sharpness or clarity a person with which a person seeds at a distance of 20 feet. In other words if you have 20/40 vision, you can read at 20 feet what a person normally can read at 40 feet.
So now, Dan Uggla will be able to read at 20 feet what a person with normal vision can read at 15 feet.
The $13 million question — since that’s about what the Braves pay Uggla annually — will he be able to hit better?
There are so many other factors involved, vision and otherwise: eye coordination, depth perception, focusing ability — not to mention swing mechanics and that gray matter between your ears.
The baseball player with the most legendary vision of all was Ted Williams. Sports writers used to say that Williams could read the label on the ball as it came out of the pitcher’s hand. My guess is that is hyperbole of the highest order.
Interviewed by Esquire magazine late in his life, WIlliams laughed when asked if he could really see the ball that well.
“—- no,” Williams answered “You’re reading all those sports writers. . . Listen, that ball looked like a pea to me comin’ in there once in a while. Hell no, I couldbn’t see the laces.”
Boston Red Sox and Mississippi Sports Hall of Famer Boo Ferriss, Williams teammate, always says Williams was the best hitter of all-time because he was the smartest hitter of all-time, that he studied pitchers the way an accountant studies numbers.
No doubt, Williams could see well, really well, and laser sugery didn’t exist back then.
Not that Williams needed it.
“Nobody ever worked harder than Ted,” Ferriss said. “If he was in what he considered a slump, he’d get me out there to pitch to him before the games and he would hit until his hands bled. He’d hit until he fixed what every he was trying to fix, and then he would soak his hands, put ointment on them, wrap them up in gauze and be ready to go that night.”
So much for the vision thing. Hopefully, it will help Uggla. Williams’ work ethic would help everyone.