5. John “Red” Pollard
The man who rode Seabiscuit, arguably the world’s most famous race horse, to unbelievable victories could still have scored all of them if he was wearing a horse blinder over one of his eyes. He still probably could have done it if he was wearing it over his good eye.
Early in the jockey’s career, a horse kicked up a rock and it smacked him in the head causing brain damage that eventually took away the vision in one of his eyes, a disability he kept secret even after Charles S. Howard hired him to race his famous horse. Eventually, the truth came out and Howard and his trainer Tom Smith kept him on as Seabiscuit’s jockey and the two went on to achieve victories that some thought could only be achieved in fables, soap operas, and Walt Disney sports films.
If most of us loses a limb or other vital organ, we’d probably cry over our loss and turn to self-help books and whiskey to fill the void it left behind. A true badass breaks another part of his body to divert his attention from the pain and fills that bloody, meaty void with something cooler like a gas powered chainsaw or a margarita machine.
This “Uncanny X-Man” replaced one of his eyes with a bionic, infrared sight laser that allows him to see farther and deeper than any normal human. Instead of using this awesome power to watch for shoplifters as a mall cop or become the world’s ultimate Where’s Waldo? competitor, Cable uses it to blow evil away with huge f-ing machinery that could punch a hole in a mountain as if it were looseleaf notebook paper. Hell, just getting the opportunity to read the eye chart for his driver’s license would be a badass experience, probably because he could do it without even entering the county.
3. Claus von Stauffenberg
Source: Keystone/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
The German general might be more well known for attempting to take down one of the most evil douchebags in the whole of universal history. However, the impressive shell of his that surrounds his footnote in time makes him a bigger military badass than a mutated Gen. Patton with chainguns for arms who eats Commies for after-dinner mints.
The high ranking Nazi came within an inch of death in a devastating battle in Tunisia that left him without one hand, seven fingers and (you guessed it) one less eye. Doctors were certain he wouldn’t make it but he somehow pulled through his debilitating injuries and returned to the military where he later led Valkyrie, a failed but gutsy military operation devised to destroy and overthrow Hitler’s evil regime.
Unlike some great soldiers and warriors, this great military Carthaginian didn’t lose half of his sight to an assassin’s arrow or a sniper’s bullet. Hannibal lost his right eye to disease while crossing the Apennies in the lead up to his great battle with the Roman Army.
Still, being able to take on one of the most oppressive and dominant empires in the universe by taming bone-crushing elephants would be more than enough for a guy with two squishy vision enablers in his head assuming, of course, that he knew how to read a map without cheating the directions with Google Maps.
1. Xiahou Dun
Any great military leader can inspire his troops to take up arms with an inspiring speech or firing the first shot from their own gun. A true leader, however, is one who gives part of himself to his troops...in this case, literally (insert rimshot here).
This military general who served during the Han Dynasty in China in the late 100s was a tough bastard. According to one of his most famous legends, an arrow struck him in the eye during the Battle of Xiapi and instead of running off to a medic for treatment, he plucked the arrow out of his eye socket and ate his own severed eye to inspire his men and scare the enemy. The event earned him the nickname “Blind Xiahou,” which reportedly sent him into a blinding rage. I’m also sure the phrase “blinding rage” sent him into an even bigger blinding rage, too.