The Best (and Worst) Facial Hair in Sports

Asher ChanceySenior Analyst IAugust 7, 2011

The Best (and Worst) Facial Hair in Sports

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    Brian Wilson has a beard to be feared.

    During the San Francisco Giants' World Series run last season, a slogan developed in the Bay Area to honor the Giants' dominant facial-hair-clad closer. That slogan was "Fear the Beard," which honored the long, unkempt and apparently dyed beard that Wilson had taken to sporting.

    While "Fear the Beard" may have originally meant "Be Intimidated by Our Closer," for those who have paid attention, it has become a valid admonition: There is something wrong with this beard!

    Why is it so unkempt? Why is it so dark? Is it even real?

    We may never know.

    Wilson, of course, is not the first professional athlete to sport eccentric facial hair. Thus, we take a look now at the Best (and Worst) Facial Hair in the History of Sports.

50. Good: Rollie Fingers, MLB

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    The lesson of Rollie Fingers' career is clear:

    Grow a gimmicky mustache, get into the Hall of Fame.

49. Bad: Clay Zavada, MLB

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    Hey hey, Clay Zavada has the sinister wax-twist mustache!

    Hall of Fame, here we come.

48. Good: Jayson Werth, MLB

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    Jayson Werth shaved his beard upon arrival in Washington.

    After a miserable start to the season, he must have become convinced that the beard had special powers and was the key to success, because the beard has returned.

    Werth literally looks like the caveman from the GEICO commercials.

47. Bad: Johnny Damon, MLB

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    This beard begat one of the best put-downs of the last 10 years:

    Looks like Jesus, throws like Mary!

46. Good: Lanny McDonald, NHL

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    Lanny McDonald enjoyed this Old Man River mustache throughout his career.

    He'll be played by William H. Macy in the movie about his life.

45. Bad: George Parros, NHL

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    George Parros is actually an escaped convict.

    This is his proverbial clever disguise.

44. Bad: Bobby Jenks, MLB

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    This hot-pink goatee definitely goes into the "Bad" column, even though I have chosen to assume that Jenks did this in order to raise breast cancer awareness, which I can't say anything bad about.

43. Good: Alexi Lalas, Soccer

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    This is kind of shocking, and you will have to google it to verify it, but Alexi Lalas is actually a very good-looking man when his hair is cut and his face is shaved.

42. Bad: Scott Spiezio, MLB

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    Scott Spiezio actually got a lot of mileage out of his dyed-red "flavor saver."

    If not for that little guy, no one would ever have known who Spiezio was.

    As it is, hundreds of fans around the country know his name.

41. Good: Jeff Bagwell, MLB

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    Apparently, the story behind Jeff Bagwell's goatee is that he and a teammate vowed to grow their goatees all winter so that they would be nice and long for spring training.

    When Bagwell arrived at spring training the following year, the teammate, who thought the whole thing was a joke, had been clean-shaven all offseason.

    (I feel like the story was about Billy Wagner, but I cannot confirm.)

40. Bad: Kimbo Slice, MMA

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    It is a great look.

    Very 1970s black exploitation film.

    Of course, when you turn out to be a fraud, all you do is bring the beard down with you.

39. Good: Rod Beck, MLB

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    Ladies and gentlemen, the closest any human has ever come to actually resembling a catfish.

    Too bad that nickname was already taken; Rod Beck had to settle for Shooter.

38. Bad: Joe Namath, NFL

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    Joe Namath used this mustache to remind his fans in New York that he was actually from Alabama.

    Here, he looks like an extra from Smokey and the Bandit.

37. Good: Sparky Lyle, MLB

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    Like Doug Jones, Sparky Lyle suffers from now having gone with the sinister 'stache.

    Also not in the Hall of Fame.

36. Bad: Jason Giambi, MLB

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    There is nothing good to say about this. Not at all.

    Is Jason Giambi planning on joining up with the highway patrol after he retires?

35. Good: Lyle Alzado, NFL

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    Lots of guys in the NFL grow beards.

    For Alzado, it was like part of his well-branded persona.

    That beard was part of what made him so terrifying.

34. Bad: Ken Daneyko, NHL

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    This is a picture of two members of the Stanley Cup champion New Jersey Devils.

    Contrary to popular belief, this is not:

    a) A picture of the dude on the left and his grandfather;

    b) A picture of the dude on the left posing with the team janitor;

    c) A picture of the dude on the left posing with a guy he found in the alley behind the arena.

33. Good: Bill "Spaceman" Lee, MLB

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    When your nickname is "Spaceman" and you look like this, there is a very good chance drugs play a significant role in your life.

    In Bill Lee's case, he freely admitted as much.

32. Bad: Brett Keisel, NFL

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    Brett Keisel grew this beard when he was hoping to be cast in the remake of Home Alone as the old guy who lives next store and scares the crap out of Macaulay Culkin by shoveling salt all over the streets.

31. Good: Eddie Murray, MLB

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    "Tell Cal to throw the motherf**king ball into my motherf**king glove!"

    (That's an "Eddie Murray looks like Jules from Pulp Fiction" joke.)

30. Bad: Hulk Hogan, WWE

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    At this point, we've learned so much about what is real (not much) and what is fake (most of it) regarding Hulk Hogan that one can only imagine that this mustache must be glued on.

    One thing we know for sure: That color does not occur in nature.

29. Good: Walt Frazier, NBA

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    Walt Frazier starred for the last great New York Knicks team.

    With facial hair like that, in New York City in the 1970s, Frazier must have been rolling in the...

    ...you know...

    ...the extracurriculars.

28. Good: Sam Thompson, MLB

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    Sam Thompson was a 19th-century baseball star.

    This mustache was not at all out of place when he played.

    Keep in mind, when Thompson made his major league debut, Grover Cleveland was president of the United States.

27. Good: Dale Earnhardt, NASCAR

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    They called Dale Earnhardt "The Intimidator."

    The mustache was as much a part of that mystique as anything.

26. Good: Ricky Williams, NFL

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    When he had dreads and acted strangely paranoid, Ricky Williams was merely a pothead.

    When he adopted this look, he started to become more of a marijuana icon.

    That's a great beard, though, right?

    He's like a black Chia Pet.

25. Bad: Mike Commodore, NHL

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    Mike Commodore, who sported this beard during the Carolina Hurricanes' Stanley Cup run in 2006, looks like a great big carrot.

24. Good: Doug Jones, MLB

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    Just think:

    If Doug Jones would have waxed and twisted the ends of his big bushy 'stache, he might also be in the Hall of Fame.

23. Bad: Larry Bird, NBA

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    A very uncomfortable mustache.

    You can't really tell if it is there or not. Bird is not the mustache-wearing type, and it is so lightly blond that it actually kind of looks like...

    ...you know...

    ...unmentionables.

22. Good: Goose Gossage, MLB

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    Do not be fooled: Goose Gossage's mustache did not get him into the Hall of Fame the way Rollie Fingers' mustache did.

    It was Goose's constant complaining about the state of the modern game combined with his relentless self-promotion that eventually got him in.

    Nice 'stache, though.

    Were Goose and Hulk Hogan (and Martin Mull) separated at birth?

21. Bad: Scott Steiner, WWE

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    That is a really neat beard.

    Maybe you could tell me all about it someday.

    On to other things...

    What the hell is up with your hands?

    And what's going on with your pecs?

    You are seriously scaring the children, dude.

20. Good: Mark Spitz, Swimming

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    Mark Spitz's persona has always said "porn star" just a little too much to me.

    But I did not grow up in the 1970s.

    I hear back then everyone had a porn mustache.

19. Bad: Michael Phelps, Swimming

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    If this thing was meant to make fun of Mark Spitz, I hope it was all in good fun.

18. Good: Al Hrabosky, MLB

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    Between Al Hrabosky, a.k.a. the Mad Hungarian, Bill "Spaceman" Lee, "Rollie" Fingers and "Goose" Gossage, I am relatively convinced that relief pitchers in the 1970s were all wrestling rejects.

17. Bad: Scot Pollard, NBA

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    Like Abel Xavier, Scot Pollard never seems to have the same facial hair twice.

    In fact, the more I learn about this dude, the more scared of him I am.

    Just seems like an odd bird.

16. Good: Oscar Gamble, MLB

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    Baseball was Oscar Gamble's day job.

    At night, he played bass for Earth, Wind & Fire.

15. Bad: Sal Fasano, MLB

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    Little-known fact:

    Sal Fasano was actually forced out of Major League Baseball by a cabal of current and former relief pitchers angry about his stealing one of their patented motifs.

    Fasano has not been seen in public since 2008.

14. Good: Bill Flett, NHL

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    Playing for the Philadelphia Flyers was Bill Flett's day job.

    At night, he was the bass player for the Allman Brothers Band.

13. Good: Mike "Fluff" Cowan, Tiger Woods Caddy

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    Ah, remember the early days of Tiger Woods' career, back before the girls, the divorce and the scandal—back when Tiger was the best golfer we had ever seen and he had a walrus for a caddy?

    Those were the days.

12. Bad: Adam Morrison, NBA

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    Guess what I just noticed:

    You know how Tim Lincecum is the spitting image of Mitch Kramer from Dazed and Confused?

    Adam Morrison is the spitting image of Randall "Pink" Floyd from the same movie.

    What are the odds of that?

11. Good: Abel Xavier, Soccer

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    Actually, we could dedicate an entire slideshow to the various facial hairstyles of footballer Abel Xavier.

    There are a million pictures of his hair and face online, and no two of them are the same.

10. Bad: Michael Jordan, NBA

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    The World: "Uh, hey Michael, got a second?"

    Michael Jordan: "Sure, what's up?"

    The World: "Hey man, look, we know that you're like, the greatest basketball player of all time, and you are hugely famous and important, and one of the great icons of the 20th century."

    Michael Jordan: "I'm with you..."

    The World: "Right, but hey, um, this mustache."

    Michael Jordan: "Yeah?"

    The World: "Well, you see, there was this guy, in Germany, and he was a bad guy..."

9. Good: Bake McBride, MLB

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    Is there any chance that a guy could be nicknamed "Bake" in the mid to late 1970s without it being a marijuana reference?

    I am willing to say yes, but it just seems unlikely.

8. Good: Matt Light, NFL

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    The beard is good. It works. You're a big man, and it gives you a Greek god thing going on.

    Question: Why is your beard clearly a different color from the hair on your head?

7. Bad: Randy Johnson, MLB

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    Here's two things that we all need to remember about Randy Johnson in this picture:

    1) This was not an ironic look—this is what Johnson actually looked like; and,

    2) This was not a picture from 1983. Johnson looked like this in 2001.

6. Good: Bruce Sutter, MLB

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    More facial hair, more Hall of Fame relievers.

    Maybe there is something to this.

    By the way, is Sutter's beard oddly similar to Ricky Williams' beard from a few slides ago? 

5. Bad: Dmitri Young, MLB

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    We told Dmitri Young to stay away from that outlet while he was playing with those wet paper clips, but he would not listen.

4. Good: Randy "Macho Man" Savage, WWE

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    We are still in our Macho Man Mourning Period, so anything he did was good.

    Love the beard, Macho Man.

    Rest in peace.

3. Bad: Andre Agassi, Tennis

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    Boy oh boy, does this look ever date Andre Agassi to an incredibly specific period of time.

    Late 1980s, early 1990s: Hair bands are on the way out but not completely gone, George Michael is still popular but fading, cocaine is still huge but no longer being treated as an epidemic, and image is everything.

2. Good: Captain Lou Albano, WWE

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    Long graying goatees that you harness by ponytail-tying just below the chin: awesome.

    Wearing a t-shirt with a cartoon picture of yourself on it: lame.

1. Bad: Drew Gooden, NBA

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    Drew Gooden, what happened to you in your life that made you this way?

    Seriously, what is this whole thing about?