Max Scherzer’s eyes have two different colors. While his left eye is brown, his right is blue and this is due to an uncommon condition called heterochromia iridis.
The list of the most talented professional baseball pitchers in America can never be complete without the inclusion of Max Scherzer. Since he joined MLB and made his debut in 2008, he has never failed to perform at a higher than usual level of intensity during games. As a result, whenever he steps up on the mound, fans of the sport pay close attention.
While being one of the best baseball pitchers for more than seven seasons now makes him popular on the field, Max Scherzer attracts even more attention off the field not only by reason of who he is but also because of his unique and rare pair of eyes which are of two different colors.
Why are his eyes that way? Was he born like that? Can he really see things the way they are with those eyes? Find out all of these and more.
Why Are Max Scherzer’s Eye Colors Different?
The award-winning baseball player has the most unusual set of eyes in Major League Baseball. His right eye is blue in color while his left eye is brown – this is a result of an uncommon condition known as heterochromia iridis. The name of this condition is derived from the Greek words “heteros” (different) and “chroma” (color).
Heterochromia iridis arises as a result of the concentration and distribution of melanin pigment in the irises, which is what primarily determines the color of a person’s iris. Just in case you do not know, the iris, in layman’s terms, is the colored part of the eye that surrounds the pupil and gives the eyes its color, be it hazel, brown, blue, green, etc.
This means that the less the level of melanin in a person’s iris, the lighter the color of their eyes will be. For example, people with brown eyes have large amounts of melanin pigment deposits while those with blue eyes have no melanin in their iris.
What this means in Max’s case is that he has no melanin in his right eye, which is blue, whereas there is a large amount of it in his left eye, which explains why it is brown.
There are also three types of heterochromia iridis – central heterochromia, segmental heterochromia, and complete heterochromia in which case a person’s irises have two different colors as is seen in Max’s case.
In most cases, heterochromia iridis causes no damage to the eye. It is usually just a peculiarity caused by genes that are passed onto an individual from his parents or by something that occurred during the formation of one’s eyes. In very rare cases, however, it could signal a medical condition.
Although Max Scherzer has come to be known for his unique blue and brown eyes, they were not always like that as his mother, Jan, revealed in 2014. Speaking to the Kansas City Star, she disclosed that he had different eye colors when he was born and they changed many times while he was growing up.
According to her, when he was four months old, he had blue and green eyes. Just like any sane mother would, she took him to a pediatrician not long after and the doctor said: “They may go back and forth. They may change again this year.” True to the words of the pediatrician, in the course of the year, the green eye changed to brown while the blue eye got bluer.
Apart from the baseball star, there are also some other popular people with heterochromia iridis and they include actress Mila Kunis, Canadian entertainer Dan Aykroyd, actor/producer Robert Downey Jr., retired actor Joe Pesci, and actress/model Kate Bosworth.
How Rare Is Max’s Condition?
Although heterochromia is common in various domestic animals due to inbreeding, it is not quite common in human beings. It affects not up to 200,000 people in the United States and occurs in less than 1% of the world’s population.
In 1979, a study involving 25,346 people in Vienna was published and it revealed that heterochromia occurred in 65 people or 0.26%.
While this condition is usually congenital (as with Max), it can also be acquired most often due to the use of certain eye drops that causes damage to the iris, inflammation, injury, or tumors.
According to reports, the number of babies born with heterochromia iridis is about six out of 1,000. And in a greater percentage of these cases, it is scarcely noticeable and unrelated to any other medical issue.
How Does The Baseball Star Embrace His Condition?
As a child, Max was made fun of because of his condition but it never got to him as he told The Seattle Times on October 21, 2019, that he has always celebrated it. “Whether you liked it or not, that’s who I am,” he told the media outlet.
Having embraced his unique eyes from childhood, all the people he drew while in grade school had two different eye colors just like him. According to his father Brad; “from first grade on, he’s always embraced it. He’s always thought it was fun. He’s always made light of it. It makes Max unique. So that’s why he likes it so much, I guess.”
True to what Max’s father said about him thinking his condition is fun, the multiple-time winner of the Cy Award has made light of his situation through the years by wearing goggles with brown and blue lenses during after-game clubhouse celebrations.
For the love of his distinctive eyes, the pitcher has also adopted two dogs with his kind of eyes. Named Rocco and Bo, the former has different colors in each eye while the latter has half blue and half brown eyes.
Probably thinking he wouldn’t mind adopting more dogs with the same condition, Max has said that a lot of people outside the baseball world usually text him pictures of dogs with heterochromia iridis asking him to get them.
Today, the same condition that made other kids taunt Max has become a mark of honor since he became a professional baseball player. His outstanding lenses were celebrated at two different times in 2014 with bobbleheads that had blue and brown eyes.
It was first celebrated that year by a Wisconsin-based baseball team named the La Crosse Loggers, which he played for in 2004, and later by the Detroit Tigers when they played Toronto. The star pitcher’s team has also designed special M&Ms colored blue and brown for sale.
Also, in 2017, the Nationals organization celebrated the pitcher’s unique optic qualities by displaying a banner featuring a closely cropped large photo of Max’s blue eye and brown eye with backward and forward Ks photoshopped into the pupils at the Nationals Park.
The banner, rectangular in shape, was put up above the second deck in the right field, and although the picture was in black and white, it emphasized Max’s eyes. Additionally, the organization has also distributed bobbleheads with a perfect depiction of the athlete’s eyes. Reacting to it, a Twitter user wrote:
As is expected, fans of the pitcher have also put their creativity to work, honoring him by wearing costumes that represent his eyes-brown and blue.
While Max’s teammates, fans, and the organization will most likely not stop talking about his distinct eyes in the nearest future, you can be rest assured that he has plans of giving them something more worthwhile to talk about each time he gets on the field—his eye-popping stats.