Beards are the facial hair of champions in today's baseball world, but it's important to remember the modern revolution of facial hair in our National Pastime all started with a single mustache in 1972. Of course, that famous mustache sat on the upper lip of Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson, which in turn sparked a series of events that ultimately led to the formation of the "Mustache Gang" in the A's clubhouse.
When Jackson arrived to spring training with his mustache and announced his intentions to keep it throughout the season, then A's owner Charlie Finley offered other players $300 to grow mustaches of their own. Not because he liked mustaches, mind you, but because he'd hoped Jackson would realize he no longer stood out and would quickly fall back in line by shaving his off. He didn't, and his teammates ended up liking theirs, so Finley's plan only ignited a trend that's still growing strong 41 years later.
Of course, Finley would figure out a way to benefit as well, holding a Mustache Night promotion. But he did so begrudgingly.
It's that fascinating history, coupled with the arrival of "Movember," that has inspired the card company Topps to create a "30 Days of November, 30 Days of Mustaches" promotion. The promotion includes selling a series of limited-edition posters that celebrate MLB's rich mustache history, in addition to archived prints featuring mustachioed players and other apparel.
Also, in connection with the promotion, Topps has released an interesting infographic that chronicles the history of mustaches in MLB, including when New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner banned players, coaches and executives from wearing facial hair that goes beyond mustaches.
A lot of cool anecdotes are included there.
It's also worth noting that facial hair has become such a prominent part of baseball that earlier this season STATS, Inc. and Wahl came together to provide statistical analysis of players with and without facial hair. The findings? All-Stars with facial hair are better hitters than those without facial hair. The margin was pretty significant, too.
At this rate, with-without facial hair may become an official statistical split like home-road and day-night. And given Boston's success, it could become a trait scouts look for. Put away the radar guns and stopwatches, break out the binoculars.
BLS H/N: For The Win
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