Top 5: Facial Hair in Sports

It should be fairly obvious by now that I’m a pretty big supporter of facial hair. Hell, the reason I hold onto it is because it’s simply one of the few vestiges of masculinity I’ve got (but that’s another much, much longer discussion for another day). For athletes, though, it’s not for masculinity – they already have that – it’s for intimidation, or for unity. After I saw  are 5 of my favorites:

5. Carlos Valderrama

This one is often overlooked because of Valderrama’s classically ridiculous hair, but in reality it’s not exactly subtle – it’s a freakin’ caterpillar running across his face. Which in my (sort of twisted) opinion is kinda awesome.

4. Jean-Sebastien Giguere, 2004

Bit of trivia: Because of eight games in his rookie season, J.S. Giguere is one of the last two Hartford Whalers still playing in the NHL (Chris Pronger’s the other). He’s also the latest of only five Conn Smythe winners to be on the losing team of the Stanley Cup Finals, in his case due to absolutely standing on his head for the entirety of the 2003 playoffs, with the Ducks falling in a 7-game series to the Devils (more on them in a bit). And he did it with his pretty bodacious playoff beard. Now, it’s basically the same as other playoff beards, but here’s something important to note: he (and possibly more importantly, his wife) absolutely hated the beard, but he grew it anyway as a point of unity with the team. That’s always pretty awesome.

3. Rod Beck

I was originally going to put Goose Gossage here in the three-spot, but remembering Beck’s Fu Manchu (and accompanying long, crazy hair) knocked him plumb off the list. I don’t know how that can’t be intimidating to a hitter, seeing a dude that looks absolutely crazy on the mound.

2. Ken Daneyko, whenever the Devils made the playoffs (pictured right)

*picks up phone* Um, Lou Lamiorello? There’s a hobo in the Devils locker room and he’s holding the Stanley Cup.

…Oh, that’s just Ken Daneyko, now (fairly) mild-mannered commentator for MSG+? Well, alright then. *hangs up phone*

1. Rollie Fingers

I’ll be honest here, I don’t think I could’ve picked any other. Fingers’s handlebar is just so damn classic (and he’s still got it!), it deserves its own plaque in Cooperstown to go along with Rollie’s. Even though he’s won an MVP, a World Series MVP, a Cy Young Award, and three World Championships, Fingers will always be remembered by sports fans and sports novices alike as having just a badass mustache (for goodness sake, there’s a freakin’ section on it on Wikipedia).


56 thoughts on “Top 5: Facial Hair in Sports

  1. I am a HUGE fan of good facial hair. As I don’t have any of my own (thank goodness), I think it’s one of those Manly Things that should be flaunted with pride,as long as it’s well groomed.

  2. Here are some from the old-school
    !. Al (The Mad Hungarian) Hrabowsky – I think the name says it all, but the photo is the clincher. You are a little young to have seen him stomping around the back of the mound before facing down hitters. Pure psyco.
    2. Gene Garber – another Braves reliever. Big beard plus he turned his back on the hitter during wind-up.
    3. Dennis Maruk – I’ll raise you on Giggy’s time in Hartford with a former Minnesota North Star & Cleveland Baron!
    4. El Tiante – Luis could have floated over on that fu man chu, plus that turnaround on his delivery. I’m a non-smoker, but the big cigar in that fu man chu would scare you too!
    5. Oscar Gamble – less for the stache than the incredible Afro. The man simply could not keep his helmet on it was so huge.

  3. Yeah, Valderrama was always the best. Brought him much attention and gave Professional Soccer a lift. As soon as you see the hair, you just knew there was some magic in the air.

  4. I’m a huge fan of facial hair and have sported the long goatee for some time now. I’ve always been a big fan of the Salvador Dali but I could never pul it off as well as him…I have always loved the Valderrama but that Rollie Fingers is awesome!! If I had a ‘stash like that I’d never rid myself of it either!!!

  5. I’m lovin it! But wait!!! What about FEAR THE BEARD??? I think Brian Wilson shoulda been 4 or 5…at least. Valderrama’s got the Head of Hair but not the Facial Hair. Wilson shoulda been here, too. I’m just sayin. LOL. Cool piece though!

    • It should be noted that in my post on the Top 5 Greatest Historical Facial Hair (on which Ambrose Burnside was #1 – this is kind of a common theme), Hatshepsut was like #3 with her fake beard (I wanted to be equal-opportunity and whatnot).

  6. Hmmm, handlebar mustache. I just never got why anyone would do that to his face. Of course, as a woman, it’s hard for me to relate, since I can’t grow my own facial hair. At least, not for a few more years.

    • Not a big Brian Wilson fan. I’m usually cool with quirky players (I was a huge Turk Wendell fan back in the day) but Wilson’s a combination of bizarre and self-serving, which just rubs me the wrong way. That said, pretty good beard.

  7. Strange how styles are. I read freshly pressed almost daily
    Check out my blog sometime.
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