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).