Baseball's Best Mustaches

September 9, 2010

With the possible exception of the mullet in hockey, no sport is as closely tied to a specific hair as baseball and the mustache. A sign of masculinity and vitality, the mustache has long been an important piece of baseball lore. The strife between Yankee manager Billy Martin and slugger Reggie Jackson started as an argument over who's mustache was better. Answer: Reggie.

While others have tried to tackle the task of identifying baseball's best 'staches, those lists seem to just recognizable players who happened to have a mustache. Hey, Keith Hernandez, seventh grade called, they want their mustache back!

It's high time someone with equal knowledge of mustaches and baseball take the challenge. The following list is not about the impact a player made on the field, only the impact of their facial hair. I'm not interested in players who grew their mustache to get out of a slump *coughcoughGiambicough* or those who wear it ironically (i.e. guys who grow one for Spring Training photos then shave like CJ Wilson).

I'm talking about men. Men who's upper lips haven't seen daylight since puberty. Real men. 

Rollie Fingers - Handlebar

Perhaps no player in the history of the grand ole game is more identified with a single mustache style than Rollie Fingers is with his handlebar. While most people know that Fingers began growing his mustache, like many of his Oakland teammates, at the behest of A’s owner Charlie Finley, what some forget that this all started with a bet. Finley said he would award $300 dollars to the A’s player with the best facial hair. Obviously Fingers won. He took the money but kept the mustache. That means if you ever enter a contest with Rollie Fingers, just know he’s not going to quit. Ever.
Michael "King" Kelly - The Natural

Michael Kelly was baseball's first superstar, his popularity lead to the nickname "King of baseball". King Kelly is credited with many inovations in the game, such as the double steal, hit-and-run and the hook slide. You know you played a long time ago when you dazzled people with your sliding ability. "What manner of scorcery is this? That young rapscallion's knickers are dirtier than Peggy Eaton!" (People in the 1870's would get it) While Kelly's on field and managerial exploits got him to Cooperstown, his mustache-lead exploits earn him induction to this list. Favorite Kelly story: Cap Anson once sent a private investigator out to keep track of his star player's late night exploits. The investigator reported back to Anson the next morning that Kelly was out at 3:00 am drinking lemonade. Irate that his best player was out that late, Anson confronted Kelly with the information to which Kelly replayed, "That's a lie! It was straight whiskey. I'd never drink lemonade at that hour!"

Mike Maddux - Chevron w/ Soul Patch

The 15-year big league vet was once better known as Greg Maddux’s older brother, but the current pitching coach for the Texas Rangers carved out his own identity thanks to his prodigious lip fur. It’s easy to see why pitchers listen to any advice which flows from just below his epic ‘stache. True story: every time you look at Mike Maddux’s mustache, Frank Zappa’s family gets seven cents. 

Al "The Mad Hungarian" Hrabosky - Horseshoe

Hrabosky pitched back in a time when men were men and closers were allowed to pitch more than an inning, also a time when that hair was socially appropriate. After back-to-back seasons in which he finished in the top five of Cy Young voting in the mid-70’s, new Cardinals’ manager Vern Rapp (a man of no discernable facial hair) forced Hrabosky to shave. No longer able to intimidate hitters into outs with his fearsome horseshoe mustache (often referred to incorrectly as a Fu-Manchu) Hrabosky’s days as a dominate hurler were over. Much like Sampson, Hrabosky drew strength from his flowing locks. Maybe he looked like a guy who was rejected from the Hell’s Angels but I dare any of you to say that to his face.

Bill Buckner - Chevron

Unfairly scorned for over a fortnight, the real shame in the Bostonian angst towards Buckner was that it forced this mustache into hiding. His flavor-savor was so strong; it began regenerating above his eyes. Double mustache. Oh my God. It’s so intense. What does it mean?!?!?

Rod "Shooter" Beck - Angry Horseshoe

It saddens me that some of our readers may actually be too young to remember the greatness of Rod Beck. Beck was Al Hrabosky meets Kenny Powers, with the mustache to prove it. If you don’t remember ‘Shooter’, just know that the above picture wasn’t even from a game. This was Beck in line for tacos. He just looked like that all the time.

Dennis Eckersley - Chevron
It takes one heckuva mustache for me to ignore the fact that Eckersley appears to have BOTH a mullet and bangs. How is that even possible? Eckersley’s mustache is so dark that Stephen Hawking has theorized it is actually a black hole which powers our universe. Neither a woman’s virginity nor light itself can escape the cosmic power of Dennis Eckersley’s mustache.
Mr. Redlegs - The Natural

As soon as I found this picture, “America, Eff Yeah” started playing on my Pandora station. This picture is proof of America’s greatness. I vote for Mr. Redlegs to replace Uncle Sam and become our national mustachioed mascot.

Sal Fasano - Horseshoe

The backup catcher was a long-time fan favorite for one reason. I bet you can figure it out. Fasano rocked the deep horseshoe ‘stache and unkempt long curly hair for most of his career. The only hiatus came during his time with the Yankees. If you’ve ever wondered why some people hate the Yankees, it’s not because they win, or their payroll is equivalent to the GDP of the third world country. It’s their anti-hair rule. Small children please look away from the next image.

Oh dear God. No!!!!! It’s like chopping off a peacock’s tail. Shame on you, Yankees. Shame on you.
Wade Boggs - Super Chevron

Wade Boggs is one of the most underrated players in baseball history; top 35 all-time in AVG, top 25 OBP. The man won Gold Gloves at ages 36 and 37. Shortly put, Wade Boggs is one of the 35-40 greatest players of all-time with one of the 15 best soup strainers. Known for his outstanding plate coverage as a hitter, Boggs’ may have had the best mustache-coverage ever. Fed by his legendary intakes of chicken and beer, Boggs deserves credit for as full and wide a ginger-stache as you’ll ever see.

Rich "Goose" Gossage - Horseshoe

That’s Mary Lou Retton, Olympic gold-medal gymnast and America’s Sweethart, enjoying a quick tickle from Gossage’s wonderful whiskers. As charming with the lady-folk as he was fearsome on the mound, Gossage is more proof that mustaches = saves (unless you’re from Panama) as the man basically invented the role of ‘closer’. Anyone really think a guy nicknamed after a harmless bird could be intimidating without such masculine facial hair? Part of the reason I foresee failure for Jimmy “The Emu” Claussen in the NFL. No one will follow a clean shaven bird.
Ross Grimsley - Chevron

Grimsley was known was one of baseball’s more colorful characters of the ‘70s and one of the most superstitious players ever. Grimsely would eschew showers during winning streaks which earned him the nickname ‘Scuz’ from teammates. Grimsely was suspected of keeping Vaseline in his hair to use for spitballs. So we have one of the most dirty, greasy, oily players in baseball history with one of the most magnificent, well-manicured mustaches. I, for one, applaud your priorities Mr. Grimsley.
Pete Vuckovich - Horseshoe

Vuckovich was actually traded along with Rollie Fingers to the Brewers in the winter before the 1981 season. Adding those two amazing mustaches greatly turned around the Brewers fortune. Vuckovich would win the 1982 AL Cy Young award for the Brew Crew powered by his mullet/horseshoe mustache combo that would make Jared Allen envious. Vuckovich is also the only player in baseball history to win both the Cy Young and the Triple Crown as he did playing first base for the Yankees in 1989.

You might remember Vuckovich as Clu Heywood.

Clay Zavada - Handlebar

There are only a few things you can do with your life if you have a handlebar mustache. You can partake in Old West shootouts/Civil War reenactments, you can tie damsels to railroad tracks or you can become a major league reliever. Thankfully Clay Zavada made the right decision. It is scientifically proven that mustaches equal save totals, so look for Zavada to lead the league after his recovery from Tommy John. If the transplanted ulnar collateral ligament doesn’t hold, surely the freshly waxed ends of his handlebar could do the trick.

Tom Selleck - Ultimate Chevron

For those who say this is supposed to be a list about baseball players, Selleck was once a Detroit Tiger. As part of the publicity for the movie Mr. Baseball, in 1991 Selleck signed a one-day contract with the Tigers and actually pinch-hit for Rob Deer in a spring training game. Though his time in The Show was brief, his mustache will live on forever. I’m pretty sure that picture was taken before cells phones. This picture is proof that Tom Selleck’s facial follicles have the ability to power small electrical devises, and on that phone is every woman, ever. I’m not an overly religious man, but you look Tom Selleck in the mustache and tell me that isn’t evidence of the divine.


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