Brian Wilson's Beard and Baseball's 50 Most “Unshaveable” in History
Over the years in the major leagues, many players have become just as well known for their appearance as their talent and skills on the field.
The “dirt dog” style of players like Pete Rose, who weren’t afraid to get down and dirty when the situation called for it, the reckless style of players like Ken Griffey Jr., who thought nothing of crashing into fences to make an incredible catch and the “sweet swingers” like Will Clark and the aforementioned Griffey, who had swings that were considered works of art.
And then there were the players who became known for their facial hair. Throughout the history of baseball, moustaches, beards and the combination of both have been displayed in various styles by hundreds of players, and it became such a part of who they were that fans just couldn’t imagine what they would have liked like had they invested in a razor.
Think of this as a list of players who would just look funny without all that hair.
So we at Bleacher Report have decided to remember those players as well, as we put together a list of 50 players in MLB history who we consider to be the most “unshaveable” ever.
Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle. Follow Doug on Twitter, @Sports_A_Holic.
Rex Jones: Trainer, Houston Astros
Yes, we know, Rex Jones is not a player. However, in his role as trainer for the Houston Astros, he at least deserves a mention on this list.
Jones look like he could have easily fit in as a player during the Dead Ball era, when it seemed like half of the players during that time sported similar looks.
Corky Miller: 2001-2010
In just a little over 10 seasons, catcher Corky Miller barely played over a season’s worth of games, appearing in only 199 over his career.
But at least he made one “best of” list during his career.
Sam LeCure: 2010-Present
Relief pitcher Sam LeCure of the Cincinnati Reds is making his mark as a solid option out of the bullpen for the Cincinnati Reds, with four spot starts to his credit as well.
LeCure is also making his mark with his facial styling, so to speak. He’s got a ways to go to compete with the best of the best, but he’s off to a good start.
Pedro Cerrano: Cleveland Indians, Major League
Pedro Cerrano became very well known for his inability to hit a curveball and for his ritualistic voodoo-type spells, designed to at least help him figure out a curveball.
However, Cerrano’s facial hair was also rockin’, lending to his all-around aura.
Collin Balester: 2008-Present
You have to give Washington Nationals relief pitcher Collin Balester a lot of credit. Last year, Balester joined the American Mustache Institute and set up a charity campaign to shave and grow his mustache, with the proceeds from his campaign going to the Prostate Cancer Foundation and LIVESTRONG.
While Balester has bounced up and down between the majors and Triple-A, he plans once again to challenge his colleagues to join his campaign and shave and grow for the sake of charity at the end of the season.
Eric Thames: 2011-Present
Outfielder Eric Thames of the Toronto Blue Jays made his major league debut on May 18 of this season, and thus far is hitting .280 with five HR and 22 RBI in his first 45 games.
But Thames’ facial stylin’ is already becoming a hit and quite possibly could be the winner of the Facial Hair Rookie of the Year award.
Well, if there were such an award that is.
John Clarkson: 1882-1894
In the early days of the National League, there was absolutely no better pitcher than John Clarkson. Clarkson won a ridiculous 53 games in 1885 for Chicago and followed up it four years later with 49 victories for his hometown Boston Beaneaters.
His 328 wins ranks him 12th on the all-time list.
Clarkson was also one of more stylish players of his day in terms of facial hair as well.
Sal Fasano: 1996-2008
Like his catching counterpart Corky Miller, who appeared earlier on this list, Sal Fasano was a career backup catcher for nine teams in 11 seasons, appearing 421 games with a career .221 batting average.
Fasano’s facial hair eventually became more famous than his skills behind the plate.
Gorman Thomas: 1973-1986
For 13 seasons, outfielder Gorman Thomas terrorized American League pitchers, twice leading the league in home runs (45 in 1979, 39 in 1982) and also leading the league in strikeouts twice, making him more of a hit or miss guy.
However, his facial grooming wasn’t hit or miss at all.
Dave Kingman: 1971-1986
Like his counterpart before him on this list, Dave Kingman, or Kong, was a prodigious home run hitter throughout his 16-year career, slugging 442 in all but also striking out 1,816 times, the ninth most in MLB history.
With his hit or miss style of hitting, Kingman was also hit or miss with his facial hair—oftentimes choosing the clean-shaven but then opting for the Bucknereque-style mustache.
Bill Buckner: 1969-1990
Speaking of Buckner, who ended his playing career in 1990, did anyone have more overall on his face than him?
Of course, I’m including the unibrow look as well, which probably never saw trimmers for years.
Steve Balboni: 1981-1990, 1993
There is definitely something to be said about prodigious home run hitters who played in the '70s and '80s, and Steve Balboni would be one in that group as well.
A man who homered a lot in his prime but also whiffed a lot in his prime (like Dave Kingman and Gorman Thomas before him on this list), Balboni had the bulk of his success in the majors while playing for the Kansas City Royals.
Maybe Balboni, Thomas and Kingman thought they looked scarier at the plate with the ‘stache? Just a guess.
David Ortiz: 1997-Present
For many years now with the Boston Red Sox, David “Big Papi” Ortiz has terrorized pitchers, and he has continued that trend this season, currently hitting .290 with 20 HR and 70 RBI and was selected as an All-Star for the seventh time.
However, Ortiz made this list for always maintaining one of the most perfectly groomed beards in all of baseball.
Casey Blake: 1999-Present
Third baseman Casey Blake has gone through as rough as season as the team he plays for, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Appearing in just 48 games all season due to nagging injuries, Blake has hit just .238 with four HR and 20 RBI and at 37 years of age, is clearly approaching the end of his career.
But Blake’s signature beard has been a part of him since his early playing days in Cleveland.
Eric Wedge: Manager, Seattle Mariners
When the Seattle Mariners lost their 14th straight game on July 25 to the Boston Red Sox, manager Eric Wedge, who had been spending the entire season crafting a pretty nifty mustache, decided to make the ultimate sacrifice and shave it off in order to try to change his team’s luck.
It didn’t work. The Mariners lost three more games before finally winning. Now, Wedge is presumably working on a new ‘stache.
Reggie Jackson: 1967-1987
In a career that lasted 21 seasons with four different teams, slugger Reggie Jackson was never shy with his words or how he felt. And he also wasn’t afraid to buck George Steinbrenner during his tenure with the Yankees.
Jackson’s mustache was as much a part of him as his propensity to hit clutch home runs. You have to go all the way back to Jackson’s rookie season in Kansas City with the Athletics to remember him without the ‘stache.
Davey Lopes: 1972-1987
Hey, wait a minute…I didn’t know John Oates played baseball!
Oh, never mind—That’s Davey Lopes.
Ron Cey: 1971-1987
Davey Lopes’ infield mate with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Ron Cey, balanced out the infield for the Dodgers in terms of facial hair.
With the clean shaven Steve Garvey and Bill Russell, Lopes and Cey both added a bit of penache with their stylish ‘staches.
Kevin Youkilis: 2004- Present
While Kevin Youkilis was once called the Greek God of Walks by Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane, he has also been called the king of goatees in Boston.
Youkilis shaved off the famous facial hair for charity back in 2007, and judging from the look, it’s no wonder he grew the goatee back quickly.
Randy Johnson: 1988-2009
There should be no doubt in anyone’s mind that pitcher Randy Johnson will be a first ballot Hall of Famer when he becomes eligible.
With 303 lifetime wins, five Cy Young awards and 4,875 strikeouts, good for second on the all-time list, Johnson’s ticket has been punched.
However, in making this particular list, it’s no wonder Johnson wore facial hair for most of his adult life. Let’s just say he has a face that only a mother could love.
Bruce Sutter: 1976-1988
When Hall of Fame pitcher Bruce Sutter ended his career in 1988, he finished with exactly 300 saves and has long been considered one of the best closers to ever play the game.
Sutter was also well known for being one of the hairiest players in baseball as well, especially during his time with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Don Mattingly: 1982-1995
For 14 seasons, New York Yankees first baseman Don Mattingly had the ignominy of playing during an era when the Yankees failed to make the playoffs for 13 seasons. Only in 1995 did Mattingly finally experience a playoff game, retiring after the Yankees lost to the Seattle Mariners in the ALDS.
While Mattingly didn’t become famous for his extensive playoff experience, he did become famous for the signature mustache that he sported throughout his career.
Wade Boggs: 1982-1999
Like Don Mattingly before him, third baseman Wade Boggs broke into the majors in 1982, and like Mattingly, Boggs was one of the best hitters of his era, ending his career with a lifetime .328 batting average.
Boggs was known for his peculiar pre-game rituals, like eating only chicken before a game. However, Boggs was also known for sporting the mustache for the length of his career as well.
Al Hrabosky: 1970-1982
For the bulk of his 13-year career in the majors, reliever Al Hrabosky had a “shtick” that he used for much of his career.
Between each pitch, he would turn his back to the batter, walk toward second base, vigorously rub the ball between his palms several times, take a deep breath and pound the ball into his mitt. He would then storm back to the mound, staring down the batter.
But that was just part of the routine. The wild Fu Manchu mustache just added to Hrabosky’s mystique.
Dave Henderson: 1981-1994
Throughout his 14-year career, Dave Henderson was known as a player who approached each game with a wild and unbridled enthusiasm, and his demeanor quickly made him a crowd favorite wherever he played.
His dramatic home run in the ninth inning of Game 5 of the American League Championship Series is one of the most famous home runs in playoff history.
Henderson’s look also became famous. Sporting a variation of a Fu Manchu mustache, Henderson wore it faithfully throughout his career.
Eddie Murray: 1977-1997
By the time Eddie Murray finished his fabulous career, he had amassed 504 home runs, second most all-time behind Mickey Mantle for a switch-hitter.
Murray also became famous for the bushy growth on his upper lip that kept it warm throughout the duration of his career.
Phil Garner: 1973-1988
When Phil Garner ended his playing career in 1988, he was most known for a steady bat and solid defensive play at second base.
Garner’s mustache fit right in as well, especially early on with the Oakland A’s and Pittsburgh Pirates.
Jose Bautista: 2004-Present
While Jose Bautista has been in the majors since 2004, it wasn’t until last year that he finally figured things out, hitting a whopping 54 home runs for the Toronto Blue Jays.
This season, Bautista has to continued to up his game, hitting .322 with 32 HR and 72 RBI and leading the American League in walks, on-base percentage and OPS.
His facial hair has gotten noticed as well—possibly because he’s finally on the map with his play on the field, maybe?
Harry Wright: 1869-1893
In a 25-year career, 23 as a manager, Harry Wright was credited with several early innovations in baseball that got him elected to the Hall of Fame in 1953.
Wright also may have had the bushiest beard of any player/manager during his era.
Dennis Eckersley: 1975-1998
During his 24-year career, Dennis Eckersley made several transitions, the biggest becoming a full-time reliever and then closer while with the Oakland Athletics in 1987.
Taking over the closer’s role for an injured Jay Howell, Eckersley re-invented himself and through his transformation was elected to the Hall of Fame in 2004.
While Eckersley had a devastating slider that had right-handed batters flailing, he also had a look, complete with mustache, that constantly had the ladies flailing and swooning as well.
Ken Phelps: 1980-1990
In a career that spanned 11 seasons, first baseman/designated hitter Ken Phelps enjoyed his best seasons with the Seattle Mariners in the mid-1980s, registering 27 HR and 68 RBI in 1987.
However, one look at Phelps and it’s clear why he wore a mustache. Let’s just say he had a face made for radio.
Frank Viola: 1982-1996
Left-handed pitcher Frank Viola won 176 games during his career, winning the Cy Young award in 1988 with the Minnesota Twins, posting a 24-7 record and 2.56 ERA. Viola won 20 games again in 1990 for the New York Mets.
Viola stayed true to his look throughout his career as well, sporting the same mustache for much of his 15 seasons.
Keith Hernandez: 1974-1990
Whoever matched former first baseman Keith Hernandez with former NBA guard Walt Frazier in the Just for Men commercials should be given a medal—it was perfect casting.
Hernandez’ look hasn’t changed since his playing days and still sports almost the same style of mustached that is almost meticulously maintained.
Andy McGaffigan: 1981-1991
If some of you don’t remember Andy McGaffigan, we’ll give you a pass. During his 11-year career, McGaffigan was a reliable if not spectacular middle reliever/setup man for five different teams, with a career ERA of 3.38.
However McGaffigan is definitely in the Hall of Fame for mustaches. McGaffigan’s look stayed the same throughout his career.
Pete Vuckovich: 1975-1986
At 6’4” and 220 lbs., pitcher Pete Vuckovich was an intimidating presence on the mound, winning the American League Cy Young award with the Milwaukee Brewers in 1982.
Equally intimidating was Vuckovich’s Fu Mancu mustache and along with his stature, made Vuckovich a force to be reckoned with on the bump.
Oscar Gamble: 1969-1985
Outfielder Oscar Gamble made several stops in his 17-year career, twice with the New York Yankees.
While Gamble was a steady player, hitting 200 home runs with a lifetime .265 average, it was Gamble’s look that made him stand out.
Rod Beck: 1991-2004
During Rod Beck’s 13-year career, he developed a reputation as a fierce competitor, which served him well in the closer’s role, registering 51 saves for the Chicago Cubs in 1998 and 48 with the San Francisco Giants in 1993.
The menacing look seen in the above pitcher was not an act. Beck was indeed a menacing presence, and the Fu Manchu just added to it.
Jim Leyland: Manager, Detroit Tigers
For almost 20 years, manager Jim Leyland has been known as a fiery manager who is fiercely loyal to his players, leading the upstart Florida Marlins to a World Series championship in 1997 and winning the AL pennant with the Detroit Tigers in 2006.
However, Leyland is also famous for two other things. His smoking habit, which leaves a trail of cigarette smoke above his head, and his mustache, which has never changed through the years, except for being a bit grayer these days.
Cito Gaston: Player, 1967-1978; Manager, 1989-1997, 2008-2010
For the past 45 seasons, both as a player and manager, Cito Gaston has sported almost the exact same mustache.
Some people can be envisioned without facial hair. Gaston is not one of those people.
Gaston retired after his second stint as manager of the Toronto Blue Jays in 2010.
Mike Schmidt: 1972-1989
Third baseman Mike Schmidt did just about everything right on the baseball field. Ten-time Gold Glove award winner, three-time NL MVP, 12-time All-Star, Schmidt was the greatest all-around third baseman to ever play the game.
Schmidt also had a look that worked for him. He still sports the same mustache first seen almost 40 years ago.
John Axford: 2009-Present
In his short time in the majors, pitcher John Axford has become one of the dominant closers in the National League, currently second with 31 saves.
During his brief career, Axford has also sported several different looks with regard to facial hair, last year deciding on a Rollie Fingers-type look.
Bobby Grich: 1970-1986
During the 17-year career of second baseman Bobby Grich, he was a six-time All-Star and was the anchor of the infield for the California Angels throughout the 1980s.
Grich’s mustache was a much a part of his persona as well.
Dave Winfield: 1973-1995
Between the years 1997-88, outfielder Dave Winfield enjoyed a stretch that saw him selected to the All-Star team while with both the San Diego Padres and New York Yankees every year.
Winfield’s mustache deserved All-Star selection as well.
Dan Quisenberry: 1979-1990
For several years with the Kansas City Royals in the 1980s, Dan Quisenberry was the dominant closer in the American League, leading the league in saves five out of six seasons.
During that time, Quiz would routinely log over 100 innings, unlike the closers of today who are generally only asked to pitch the ninth inning.
While Quisenberry was not considered worthy of baseball’s Hall of Fame, he is certainly worthy for the mustache Hall of Fame.
Pud Galvin: 1875-1892
Pud Galvin was one of the best pitchers of the early National League, winning 46 games in back to back seasons and winning 365 games over a 15-year career.
Equally as impressive was Galvin’s mustache, not to mention a pretty cool first name.
Taylor Tankersley: 2006-2010
Taylor Tankersley has yet to pitch an inning in the majors in 2011 after signing a minor-league contract with the New York Mets, appearing in 38 games for Triple-A Buffalo and sporting a very unimpressive 6.45 ERA.
Tankersley’s Fu Manchu however, has not been forgotten.
Andre Dawson: 1976-1996
When right fielder Andre Dawson was finally elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame in 2010, it was an achievement that was well-rewarded and well-received by his peers.
Dawson was a fierce competitor for the Montreal Expos, Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox and Florida Marlins, winning the NL MVP award in 1987 when he amassed 49 HR and 137 RBI.
Dawson was as well known for his glove work as well, winning eight Gold Glove awards during his career. He also fielded a mustache that was just as well known.
Goose Gossage: 1972-1994
Richard Michael Gossage, simply called Goose, was one of the earlier dominating closers in baseball, leading the league three times in saves, ending his career with 310 overall.
Known for a fiery demeanor, Gossage often sported the wild facial fair to accent that demeanor and to this day still displays the look.
Rollie Fingers: 1968-1985
When Rollie Fingers was elected to the baseball Hall of Fame in 1992, he became only the second relief pitcher ever inducted into the hallowed halls.
Fingers was dominant throughout his career, right up until his last year with the Milwaukee Brewers at the age of 38.
However, Fingers’ handlebar mustache had already gained fame long before his election to the HOF.
Brian Wilson: 2006-Present
When the San Francisco Giants won the World Series in 2010, their first in 56 seasons, closer Brian Wilson was a major factor in the team’s victory.
His 48 saves during the regular season led the league, and he continued his dominance in the postseason, notching six saves and not allowing a run in 11.2 innings.
Wilson started growing a beard during the regular season, and by the time the playoffs rolled around, it was in full display for all to see.
Combined with his off-beat sense of humor, Wilson has become a cult hero in the Bay Area, and MLB capitalized on his popularity this season with it’s MLB: Always Epic series of commercials featuring Wilson’s beard.
Take a journey inside Brian Wilson’s epic beard.