A Collection of Baseball Firsts

Who hit the first grand slam? Who was the first pinch hitter? Presenting the nine players of Smithsonian’s “They Did It First” All-Star Team


First to Wear Shades: Paul Hines

Paul Hines
(Library of Congress)

The Providence Grays’ center fielder is credited with being the first player to wear sunglasses on the field, in 1882. In subsequent years, players experimented with various methods to keep the sun out of their eyes. According to ESPN writer Paul Lukas: “A big breakthrough came in 1912, when Pittsburgh manager Fred Clarke devised a cap with snap-down lenses bolted right into the brim.” True sunglasses didn’t catch on with players until Foster Grants were mass-marketed in the 1930s to take advantage of the growing popularity of sunbathing. Hines, who later went on to play with the Washington Statesmen, has also been credited with baseball’s first unassisted triple play, in 1878, although that fact is now disputed among baseball historians.


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