Rollie Fingers and the 25 Players with the Best Facial Hair in MLB History
A man's facial hair can be his calling card. It is a statement of his personality and an extension of the image he wishes to project.
In baseball, Rollie Fingers is remembered not just for his pitching, but also for his throwback-style moustache, which stood out in a crowd.
Other players have taken their hacks at the best facial hair in baseball. The "best" of the bunch may have been chosen for a variety of reasons like neatness, sharp style, iconic qualities or even outlandishness. Some are not pretty, but all are interesting and memorable.
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Pitcher Rollie Fingers was well-known for his waxed handlebar moustache, a style that began as a contest in 1972.
Athletics owner Charles O. Finley offered a $300 bonus to the player in Spring Training who could best grow their facial hair until Opening Day.
Fingers modeled his moustache after late 19th century players and, rather than shave it off after Opening Day, he decided to keep it.
It even prompted a "Moustache Day" at the ballpark, where any fan with a moustache could attend for free.
Not only did Fingers win the $300 prize, but later in his career he even turned down an offer to play for the Cincinnati Reds due to their "clean cut" policy.
During 17 years in the big leagues with the Athletics, Padres and Brewers, Fingers collected the American League MVP and Cy Young Award in 1981, a World Series MVP award in 1974, and he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1992.
Still, one of the more memorable parts of Fingers' baseball career is the handlebar moustache.
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Currently in his 17th major league season, outfielder Johnny Damon's hair may be gone, but it will never be forgotten. In 2004, Damon entered Red Sox spring training sporting a wild, shoulder-length 'do with a full beard.
The crazy new style drew comparisons to a caveman, the Tom Hanks "Castaway" character and even Jesus Christ.
One could argue that the hair got more attention than did his performance on the field. In a year where Damon hit .304 with 94 RBI and 20 homers, some thought the beard may even have magical powers.
But in December 2005, hearts were broken all around Boston when Damon signed a four-year deal with the arch-rival New York Yankees. Adding insult to injury, Damon shaved off the beard and cut his hair in order to comply with the Yankees "clean-cut" policy.
Oddly enough, Damon's own father used to pay him to keep his hair cut short. Now with the Tampa Bay Rays and evidently feeling bit rebellious again, Damon showed up to Rays camp with a Mohawk. I assume 20 bucks from his old man will no longer be a deterrent.
What is next for Damon's 'do? Only he can answer that one.
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Although Jeff Bagwell did not sport crazy facial hair throughout his entire 15-year career with the Astros, he made it count when he did.
The sculpted goatee was just over three inches long at one point around the year 2000. Other times, it was trimmed a bit closer. Either way, fans began to wonder if he even had a chin.
But this slightly hairy first baseman was well loved in Houston. Bagwell bagged three Silver Sluggers, a Gold Glove, the 1994 National League MVP award and four All-Star nods over his career.
Some will remember Bagwell for his 449 career homers. Others will remain fixated on the mysterious choice of facial hair.
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The career of Scott Spiezio was not really remarkable. After 12 years in the majors with four different teams, this third baseman compiled a .255 batting average and .329 on-base percentage.
What Spiezio was better known for than his play on the field was the weird red thing growing on his chin. Perhaps it was a single devil horn or a genetically impaired caterpillar? No one really knows.
But the unique and interesting choice of facial grooming is what makes Spiezio's mini-goatee a winner among MLB facial hair. We may never see anything like it again. Some hope we never see anything like it again.
As for Spiezio the player, his major league career ended rather sadly when a DUI arrest and suspicion of rampant substance abuse sent him to rehab in 2008.
But Spiezio will always be remembered for his odd and somewhat confusing sense of style.
Mike "King" Kelly
Flashy facial hair was not just limited to the modern era. Some styles began back in the 19th century, when a man could make a real statement with his hair style.
Mike "King" Kelly spent the majority of his 16-season playing career with the Chicago White Stockings and the Boston Beaneaters, making his major league debut in 1878. He served as an outfielder, a catcher and later, a manager.
Kelly's style was a bit theatrical as he sported a big, fluffy moustache with a slight curl on each end. Fittingly, Kelly moonlighted as a Vaudeville actor and was touted as a natural comedian.
In baseball, rumors and controversy surrounded Kelly as he was known for trickery on the field and attempts to outwit both his opponent and the umpire.
His habit of trying to distract opposing fielders and attempts to cut bases were big points of contention.
The crazy moustache went well with Kelly's playful personality, and it is one of the many things he will be remembered for.
Southpaw pitcher Al Hrabosky played in the majors from 1970 to 1982, spending eight of those years with the Cardinals. As both a closer and a lefty, Hrabosky embodied many of the stereotypical personality traits associated with these types of players.
Hrabosky was well loved by fans for his slightly outlandish antics on the mound. The drawn-out routine between pitches, which included a stroll towards second base and pounding his mitt, was not loved by his opponents.
His image was further enhanced by the a Fu Manchu moustache and wild hair. The combination of looks and personality earned Hrabosky the nickname, "The Mad Hungarian."
But in 1977, "The Mad Hungarian" was tamed as a new Cardinals owner, Vern Rapp, forced him to cut his hair and shave the moustache.
Currently, Hrabosky is a Cardinals commentator for Fox Midwest and has his own radio show on KFNS 590AM in St. Louis.
In 16 seasons from 1967 to 1982, left-handed relief pitcher Sparky Lyle garnered many honors, including the 1977 AL Cy Young award. He spent most of his career with the Red Sox and Yankees, where he was selected to three All-Star games as well.
With a name like Sparky, trouble was sure to follow. Known for being a prankster, Lyle's commonly ruined birthdays by sitting naked on his teammates' birthday cakes.
Later in life, he also helped pen a book detailing the inner strife among Yankees' World Series Championship seasons of 1977 and 1978 called, "The Bronx Zoo."
But aside from his pitching and goofing around, Lyle was also famous for attempting to bring back the 1970's Rollie Fingers handlebar moustache. While it is not quite as fashionable as Fingers', the combination of the style and Lyle's antics were very entertaining.
A Texas Rangers teammate of Sparky Lyle, Jim Kern also had an interesting sense of style. The weird beard helped earn him the nickname "The Great Emu," as he looked and acted like a bird.
In 13 years between 1974 and 1986, Kern played for six different ball clubs and went to the All-Star game three times.
In 1980 while with the Rangers, an elbow injury slowed his game down. Eventually, he landed in Cincinnati, where he was very unhappy.
As a result, Kern re-grew his crazy beard in an effort to force the Reds to trade him due to violating their "clean-cut" policy.
Kern bounced around to other teams over the next few years before finally ending his career in Cleveland, where he started it.
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Brian Wilson shares his name with a famous musician, a politician and even an Australian footballer. What he will never share is his unique personality and that jet black-dyed thick beard and Mohawk hairstyle.
The "Fear the Beard" chant could be heard all throughout the Giants 2010 playoff run and eventual World Series win. The now-famous beard even appeared in a commercial for the video game Major League Baseball 2K11.
Entering his sixth year in the majors, all with the Giants, Wilson started the year on the DL with a strained oblique in his left side. But there is little doubt that both the pitcher and the beard will be back very soon.
Photo: Johnmaxmena2, Wikimedia Commons
The 12-year career of pitcher Bruce Sutter ran from 1976 to 1988 with time in Chicago, St. Louis and Atlanta. He won the NL Cy Young award with the Cubs in 1979 and was also selected to six All-Star games.
In 2006, Sutter was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Now, you can add him to the MLB Facial Hair Hall of Fame.
Famous for his strong splitter, Sutter's hair also gained a lot of attention. The wild, mountain-man like hair and beard was scruffy, but interesting.
About his former 'do, Sutter once said, "The hair is gone, the black beard is gone, my arm is gone, but that memory will never die."
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St. Louis Cardinals' closer Ryan Franklin has a look that sets him apart from other players. When you see Franklin, you know exactly who it is.
Franklin's goatee has morphed back and forth from close cut to taking on a life of its own about three inches below his chin. The Franklin chin sweater is certainly a trademark.
Starting his 12th year in the majors this season, Franklin got off to a shaky start, blowing the Opening Day save for the Cardinals. Perhaps he needs a magical slogan like Brian Wilson?
Still, the 2009 All-Star closer has many games to go before anyone panics. The beard, on the other hand, is untouchable.
Kurt Bevacqua had a long, yet mostly unremarkable, career as a utility man in the major leagues from 1971 to 1985. His lifetime batting average with six different teams amount to only .239 with 275 RBI.
Nicknamed "Kurt the Dirt" in the minors, Bevacqua was known for his old-style, hard-nosed play. While he was not knocking the cover off the ball, Bevacqua was valued as one of the more dependable utility men in the game.
Bevacqua's thick, dark moustache epitomized the era of the 1970's in which he played. He is a symbol of the time period and also a reminder of the value of role players in baseball.
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When Jayson Werth wandered in the Phillies 2010 spring training camp, all talk of balls and strikes ended and the era of the Werth beard began to take over the media.
Grizzly Adams, caveman and Jesus were just a few of the references tossed about over Werth's unkempt, free-as-a-bird mane and beard.
People forgot that Werth hit 36 home runs the previous season. All the talk was about the beard.
Philadelphia fans were disheartened when Werth took money over loyalty and winning and signed with the Washington Nationals this offseason for a ridiculous amount of money. It was $126 million over seven years to be exact.
Then again, the upkeep of that crazy facial monstrosity will probably suck up most of his salary. By the end of the year, the beard may even need its own agent. So, who could blame him?
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Entering his fourth year in the majors, Jason Motte is a right-handed reliever for the Cardinals who will likely be the set-up man for closer Ryan Franklin. These two have a lot in common besides holding down the back end of the Cards bullpen.
As if separated at birth, both Motte and Franklin have interesting facial hair. Franklin's goatee is a tad more overstated than Motte's fuzzy facial sweater.
But Motte's face-framing do is especially menacing when he pitches. The bugged-eyed serious look, combined with the wide beard, makes a real statement.
Now all the Cardinals need to do is make sure there is a crafty barber on hand to keep this team in check.
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After 16 major league seasons from 1979 to 1994, closer Jeff Reardon earned the nickname "The Terminator" for his 98-mph fastball and strong presence on the mound.
In 1992, Reardon became the all-time saves leader in baseball with 342, breaking Rollie Fingers' previous record of 341. Currently, he is seventh on the All-Time Saves List with 367.
Part of Reardon's success as an intimidating figure on the mound was a serious sneer peeking out from under a thick, dark and very full beard.
Seeing that scary beard behind a fastball shot like a cannon was a hair-raising experience for opponents.
Relief pitcher Dick Tidrow played in the majors from 1972 to 1984. His most memorable years were as a member of the 1977 and 1978 World Champion Yankees teams.
Other players referred to Tidrow as "Dirt" due to his sloppy appearance and tendency to get dirty before the game even started.
Tidrow's high leg kick and sidearm delivery were notable, but the thick, horseshoe-style moustache he wore also stood out.
A San Francisco native, Tidrow is currently working as the scouting director for the San Francisco Giants.
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Hall of Fame pitcher Goose Gossage, whose real name is Richard Michael Gossage, played 22 seasons in the majors from 1972 to 1994 for nine different teams.
The nickname "Goose" was earned when his roommate Tom Bradley in 1972 said he looked like a goose when he leaned in to get signs from the catcher.
Besides being known for his long, successful career where he was elected to nine All-Star games, Gossage is also well-recognized because of his facial hair.
Gossage's mutton chops and Fu Manchu moustache are practically famous all by themselves. He even wears the same style today.
A player's choice of facial hair is very often an accurate reflection of their personality. This was certainly the case with lefty Bill Lee, who played in the majors from 1969 to 1982.
Lee's wild hair and super-scruffy beard, which reached epic ZZ Top proportions at one point, were very telling. The scruff matched Lee's crazy antics and penchant for running off at the mouth on various taboo topics.
The off-kilter behavior earned Lee the nickname, "The Spaceman." Even his pitching was odd.
Lee used what became known as a Leephus pitch, a personalized variation of the eephus pitch. It was a slow breaking ball with a high arch.
Lee is also the author of four books and the subject of the movie, "Spaceman: A Baseball Odyssey," filmed in 2003. And now, he is in the unofficial MLB Facial Hair Hall of Fame.
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The face of pitcher Brett Myers has gone through numerous incarnations over the years. But his latest look is Hall of Fame worthy.
There are few words to accurately describe that multi-colored and wiry beard Myers has chosen. The goatee, which is about four inches in length, resembles a hedgehog hanging onto his chin. That portion crawls up the sides of his face and gives birth to a matching moustache on its way.
But the true genius of this look is the off-center streak of grey hair that cascades down the left side of the hedgehog goatee. Perhaps it is a tribute to "The Bride of Frankenstein?"
A 10-year veteran, Myers will be entertaining Houston fans all year long with this look.
Dubbed "Mr. October" for his post-season prowess, Reggie Jackson played from 1967-1987 for four different teams and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1993.
Also in the Hall of Fame of another kind is Jackson's signature facial hair. Over the years, the hair morphed from a full beard to just a thick, dark moustache.
But the popularity of the classic look has inspired men all over the world to don the Jackson 'do. Even today, the iconic image has been immortalized on a tee-shirt called the "Cooperstown Hair-itage" collection.
So while Jackson is best known for showing off on the baseball field, his hair will live along with the rest of his legacy.
Another Yankee whose hair has been added to the "Cooperstown Hair-itage" collection is Don Mattingly.
This first baseman played for the Yankees from 1982 to 1995, where he collected an AL MVP award in 1985, nine Gold Glove awards, three Silver Sluggers and six All-Star nods.
Also during his tenure with the Yankees, Mattingly was involved in a heavily debated hair controversy. His thick, black well-recognized moustache was at one time accompanied by a mullet hair style.
Yankees management scoffed at the length of the hair and insisted he cut it. Mattingly refused and was actually benched.
Currently, Mattingly sports a more traditional hair style and has shaved off the signature moustache. He is now the manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
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Now in his 15th major league season, designated hitter David Ortiz has one of the more interesting facial hair styles in baseball. And though it has changed a little over the years, it never gets dull.
The best way to describe what appears to be part beard and part goatee is a chinstrap. With his batting helmet on, it looks like Ortiz's helmet is being anchored to his head by the chiseled side burns which form a goatee/beard in the middle.
In 2009, Ortiz was involved in a steroid scandal when it was leaked that he had tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs in 2003. Ortiz blamed the positive test to various supplements and vitamins he was taking.
Perhaps those vitamins were essential to the upkeep of his super-neat chinstrap beard? Because if anything was on steroids in the early 2000's, Ortiz's beard was certainly on that list.
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Three-time All-Star closer Eric Gagne was best known for his amazing streak of 84 straight converted save chances from 2002 to 2004. He also won the Cy Young award in 2003.
But Gagne was also known for his wild facial hair which went from full beard to goatee and back again numerous times throughout his 10-year career.
He was also recognized as one of the few major leaguers who wore glasses on a regular basis, which accentuated the full beard.
Gagne suffered a number of injuries late in his career and had multiple Tommy John surgeries. But while his career was cut short, the beard will live on forever.
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Currently in his 13th major league season, Kerry Wood's career has been a roller coaster ride of ups and downs. In 1998, Wood was so impressive, he was named Rookie of the Year.
But since that time, Wood has been plagued by a wide variety of injuries and surgeries, being placed on the disabled list 14 times in his 13 seasons. Most of that time, Wood has been with the Cubs, who are still starving for a big winner.
The only thing Wood has not had issues with is his facial hair. Wood kept a neatly trimmed beard most of his career, sometimes allowing the goatee to grow a bit. But it was always maintained well and easy on the eyes.
This season, Wood has gone with the clean-shaven look, so far. Many fans say it makes him look younger. If it can make him pitch younger, I do not think anyone will complain about the absence of the beard.
From 1872 to 1904, Jim O'Rourke played mostly left field for eight different teams. In addition to baseball, O'Rourke was also a Yale-educated lawyer. His intelligence and chatty habits on the field earned his the nickname, "Orator Jim."
O'Rourke sported a popular 19th century look, with a thick, bushy moustache, sometimes referred to as a "Mexican" style.
Even the bronze statue erected of O'Rourke in The Ballpark at Harbor Yard in Bridgeport, Conn., shows the signature moustache.
O'Rourke was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1945 and now, the memory of both his career and his facial hair live on in Bridgeport.
Bonus Slide: The Phillie Phanatic
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The Philadelphia Phillies mascot, the Phillie Phanatic, is a large, green, furry, bird-like creature who hails from the remote islands of the Galapagos.
Over the years, the Phanatic has entertained fans, Presidents, celebrities and even made an otherwise grouchy Jack Nicholson smile.
No "hair" in major league baseball is quite as interesting or memorable.