One of baseball's biggest first-half stories has been Jason Giambi and the rise of his new mustache. Giambi slumped early but turned things around by growing what has now become the most famous piece of facial hair in sports. Its presence has led him to 18 homers, 54 RBI and on Wednesday the Yankees gave away replica mustaches to the first 20,000 fans as part of an effort to get their first baseman voted onto the All-Star team.
The All-Star campaign has also received backing from the American Mustache Institute.
At this moment, all that matters is that you find a way to vote Jason Giambi - he of the mustache power - to the Major League Baseball All-Star game.
AMI's reasoning is simple:
It does not take a mathematician to know that Giambi + Mustache = All-Star. It's science.
Baseball player + Mustache = All-star. This simple sabermetric has been proven true over time. Baseball's history is one full of great mustaches. And now, in honor of the upcoming All-Star Game, I now give you Baseball's All-Time All-Mustache Team.
Richard "Goose" Gossage. All baseball mustache discussions must begin with Gossage. He began his career in 1972 with the Chicago White Sox, mustacheless, and middle of the road. By 1978 he joined the Yankees, had a wild handlebar 'stache, and became un-hittable. By the end of 1987 he ranked second in major league history in career saves. He trailed only Rollie Fingers, who was also sporting both a flamboyant and dominating mustache.
Roland "Rollie" Fingers. Fingers pitched from 1968-1985 and rose to power after growing a mustache to win a $300 bonus from Oakland Athletics owner Charles O. Finley. The 'stache took on a life of it's own, evolving into the barbershop-like curly variety. Batters may have been tempted to twirl it but Fingers never let them get close. He won three consecutive championships with the A's, seven all-star appearances, and three Rolaids Relief Man of the Year awards. In 1980 he broke the all-time save record which stood until 1992 when Jeff Reardon, in full beard, eclipsed it.
Catfish Hunter. They say the bigger the game the better he pitched and the better his mustache looked. They both dominated baseball from 1970-1976, winning over 20 games in a season five straight times, and both ended up in the Hall of Fame.
Fergie Jenkins. The man was Fergie before Fergie, and racked up 284 wins, including at least 20 per season six consecutive times. No small feat playing most of his career for the Cubs. He was known for pinpoint control, changing speeds, and a nicely kept mustache. He is now in the Hall of Fame.
Dennis Eckersley. No pitching mustache discussion would be complete without mentioning Eckersley. Eck broke onto the scene in 1975 with unstyled long hair, prominent mustache, and live fastball. He began his career as a starting pitcher but in 1987 he was converted to a relief pitcher and went on to close 220 games over the next five year. In 1990 he gave up five earned runs all season, posting a 0.61 ERA. He is the only relief pitcher in baseball history to have more saves than base runners allowed.
Thurmon Munson. Munson was catcher for the New York Yankees from 1969 to 1979. Munson's dominating mustache (pictured up top) is the thing of baseball legend. He was known for his outstanding fielding, clutch hitting, and leadership. He was 1970 American League Rookie of the Year, a seven-time All-Star, two-time World Series champion, and 1976 American League MVP award winner. His career was tragically cut short by a plane crash at the age of 32. His number 15 is retired by the Yankees, and an empty locker in the clubhouse remains as tribute to their lost captain.
Keith Hernandez. Giambi's famous mustache is not even the most dominant ever at his position, or even in his own town. First base has long been known for colorful, dominating mustaches. All-Time honors go to Hernandez who played from 1974-1990, had a prominent mustache, won World Series titles in 1982 and 1986, and appeared in the greatest Seinfeld episode of all time, while giving rise to the quote, "I'm Keith Hernandez." He currently holds AMI's coveted "Greatest Sports Mustache" of all time award and continues to style a dominating mustache to this day.
First base backup
Another all-time first base mustache belongs to "Donny Baseball." Mattingly broke into the majors in 1982 with a sweet swing and proud handle-bar mustache and dominated the American League for the next six seasons. In 1987 Mattingly belted a home run in eight consecutive games. His career went into decline shorty after, from being under the weight of such a heavy mustache.
Joe Morgan. Morgan did not have a predominant mustache during his playing days but he does now as Joe Miller's broadcasting sidekick on ESPN's Sunday Night Baseball.
Wade Boggs. The other corner infield position also has two all-time great mustaches. Here I give the nod to Boggs whose mustache was so wild it looked like he broke into the majors a decade late. Despite this he stuck with it through a downward trend in facial hair during the late 80s and 90s. He was rewarded with a .328 lifetime average, 3,010 hits, and a Hall of Fame induction.
Third base backup
Mike Schmidt. Schmidt played his entire professional career with a mustache, and with the Philadelphia Phillies. Schmidt's hall of fame career includes three three MVP awards, and 12 All-Star games. He is widely considered one of the greatest third basemen in history. He helped the city of Philadelphia win its last sports championship in 1980.
Robin Yount. Yount is another mustache bearer in the Hall of Fame. He played from 1974 - 1993 with the Milwaukee Brewers, collecting 3,142 hits, and two MVP awards. He was known for his consistency, sticking to the mustache for his entire career.
Reggie Jackson. Special mustache mention must be made to Jackson, who ushered in the mustache era in baseball in 1972. As reported by writer Bruce Markusen:
In1972, Oakland A's star Reggie Jackson reported to spring training in Arizona, replete with a fully-grown mustache, the origins of which had begun to sprout during the 1971 American League Championship Series. To the surprise of his teammates, Jackson had used part of his off-season to allow the mustache to reach full bloom. By the time that spring training began in 1972, the mustache had reached epic proportions-at least by major league baseball's conservative standards of the day.
Reggie stuck with the 'stache for the remainder of his career and was elected into the Hall of Fame.
Jim Rice. Rice began his career in 1975 by winning the American League Rookie of the Year award and sporting a stylish mustache. He was also known for his power and clutch hitting and was elected to the All Star team from 1977-1980, and 1983-1986.
Dave Winfield. Winfield is often recognized as a ball player of pure ability, and his thin, manicured mustached reflected his elegant style of play. He was a complete player, with 12 All-Star appearances, seven gold gloves, and one hall of fame induction.
Billy Martin. Alfred "Billy" Martin was manager of the New York Yankees no less than five different times. Known for his colorful arguments with umpires, including popularizing the kicking of dirt on their feet, Martin's stature was only augmented by the presence of a wide, fiery mustache.
What do you think? Did I miss anyone?