1989 Donruss – Pat Borders
So, we are now well into Movember, and a lot of people look creepy. Pat Borders, the 1992 World Series MVP, is something of a mentor – a legend, if you will – for anyone with a creepy mustache.
A few things you might not know about Pat Borders, besides the fact he thought he looked really, really good in the photo for this baseball card:
-Played for six different teams with whom he played just one season with 150 or fewer at-bats. Dude got around.
-Won a gold medal with Team USA at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney.
-Was still playing Major League baseball (well, he was playing in Seattle, so Major League is up for debate) in 2005 at the age of 42.
Movember, keeping ordinary people away from toy stores and elementary schools in November for over a decade.
PS. donate to Movember.
1988 Leaf – Rick Rhoden
You can tell from the picture on his 1988 Leaf baseball card that Rick Rhoden knows something you don’t. He’s got that sly look in his eye and a shady little grin. He knows some shit’s about to go down and he’s not going to tell you about it.
Well, I know what it was that Rick Rhoden knew back in 1988. He was going to become a professional golfer when he was done with baseball. He would keep his mustache. Wouldn’t you?
SIDE NOTE: Rick Rhoden once started a game that he was pitching as the DH. Fairly impressive.
1981 Donruss – Danny Goodwin
So, a few weeks ago, Major League Baseball held its 2013 First Year Player Draft. During that draft, Mark Appel was selected first overall by the Awful Houston Astros. This took place after Appel was selected eighth overall by the Pittsburgh Pirates (currently the best team in baseball) in the 2012 First Year Player Draft, but did not sign with the team by the signing deadline.
Back in 1971, a ballplayer named Danny Goodwin was drafted first overall by the Chicago White Sox, but did not sign, and instead attended Southern University and A & M. Then, in 1975, he was drafted first overall by the California Angels, who had been the Los Angeles Angels, and later became the Anaheim Angels, and then the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, due to a few ridiculous people who thought all of this made sense. This makes Danny Goodwin the only player to ever be selected first overall twice in the MLB draft.
Unfortunately, despite being drafted first overall twice, Danny Goodwin’s career only amounted to 252 games, which is still a lot more than you or I will ever play in the Major Leagues. Fortunately, Danny Goodwin’s career left baseball, America, the world, and, in fact, the universe, with one of the all-time greatest mustaches in the history of mustaches. Nobody can fault the White Sox or the Angels for taking such a mustache with a #1 overall pick. In fact, one might salute them for their selections.
1990-91 Pro Set – Bryan Trottier
So, the NHL lockout appears to be over. I can’t begin to compose all my thoughts about that, so I am going to focus them instead on honouring one of the great players of the NHL’s past, from a time before The Lockout Era started.
Lots of people remember Bryan Trottier for his six 100-point seasons, his Art Ross Trophy win in 1979, his six Stanley Cups as a player, or for his assault on Brian Bellows with Kevin Stevens.
What he isn’t often remembered for is his mustache. Trottier’s mustache was a staple of the New York Islanders’ success, and then it helped push Pittsburgh over the top in 1991 and 1992 as well. You’ll notice the Islanders have been terrible since Trottier’s mustache left, and Pittsburgh almost lost their team when he left there. These things are more than just a coincidence. They are part of a Mustache Legacy.
1988 Topps – Jack Morris
With November 1 comes the start of Movember, when men everywhere grow mustaches in order to raise funds and awareness for men’s health, specifically prostate cancer. As an appreciator of fine mustaches, I thought I’d start November off right and join in on the fun by celebrating one of the all-time great mustaches in baseball. This one was grown by Mr. Jack Morris.
Morris was known as a fierce competitor with a dirty forkball, and had the most wins of any pitcher in the 1980’s. However, he also gave up the most hits, earned runs and home runs of any pitcher in the same decade, leading to some pretty heated debates (a good summary can be found at Getting Blanked) about whether he belongs in the Hall of Fame.
Hall of Fame or not, Morris will always have Game 7 to hang his hat on, and a mustache to hang his four World Series rings on.
2011 Topps Heritage – Jim Leyland
Today, on the eve of game three of the 2012 ALCS, it is time we take a moment to appreciate Jim Leyland’s mustache. It doesn’t get the credit it deserves as one of the manliest of manly mustaches.
Jim Leyland’s mustache is the kind of mustache that your grandfather would have if he was the kind of grandfather that appreciated a good bottle of scotch. It’s the kind of mustache that has some serious stories about the war in Korea, or maybe the Cold War. It’s the kind of mustache that is equally at home falling asleep in front of a fireplace with a book on its chest, or going absolutely apeshit because it didn’t get its way.
Jim Leyland is doing a hell of a job managing all those fat guys in Detroit through that incredibly easy division, and I respect him for it. You’ve got to think, though, that the mustache is doing the lion’s share of the work.
1990 Upper Deck – Fred McGriff
Fred McGriff had a pretty good career in the Major Leagues of Baseball. He hit 493 career home runs, which is more than all but 26 men in history. He averaged over 100 RBI per 162 games, which used to mean something. He hit .303 in 188 career postseason at bats, including a World Series win with Atlanta (yes, they actually won one). So, yeah, not bad.
However, he has always been underrated in one crucial category: the mustache. It wasn’t imposing, didn’t dominate your attention when you looked at him. But it was there. In an era of Goose Gossage, Wade Boggs, and Eddie Murray, McGriff easily flew under the mustache radar. When you look at it though, that’s kind of hard to believe. It was well-manicured without being fancy and full without going overboard. It was a subtle and consistent compliment to a subtle and consistent ballplayer – and it deserves to be recognized as such.
Take a moment, raise your glass, and salute the underdog owned by the Crime Dog: the Manly, Magical Mustache of Fred McGriff.
1984 Topps – Rick Langford
Green and yellow and green and yellow and green and yellow and mustache.
That’s Rick Langford, everybody. He of the 28 (twenty-eight!) complete games and 290 innings pitched in 1980, along with a whopping 102 strikeouts.
But that mustache – well, it just doesn’t really want to be defined. I’d call it a Chevron XL, based on this delightful and educational information resource from the American Mustache Institute.
1986 Fleer – 84 & 85 AL Batting Champs
In 1984, Don Mattingly hit .343 as a 23-year old and won the AL batting title, also leading the league in hits and doubles.
In 1985, Wade Boggs hit .368 (!), which got him the AL batting title that year. Only two players in the American League have hit higher than .368 since – Nomar Garciaparra in 2000 and Ichiro Suzuki in 2004.
In 1986, Fleer recognized that they both had spectacular mustaches, and made the baseball card you see above.
You see, there is value in the mustache.
1992 Topps – Craig Lefferts
By 1992, the mustache was becoming more and more a thing of the past in Major League Baseball. Players everywhere were becoming significantly less masculine by shaving their facial hair and chopping off mullets left, right and centre.
However, clearly, Craig Lefferts would have none of it. Instead of going Full Monty and removing the mustache completely, he went for a short-cropped haircut along with a perfectly manicured mustache – the kind of mustache you might possibly see on a highway patrolman, or maybe someone who spends a lot of time in front of the camera.
Interesting Craig Lefferts fact: He started five games in his rookie season, 1983. Then, he pitched in 526 Major League Baseball games as a reliever, including an NL-leading 83 in 1986, before oddly starting all 32 games he appeared in during the 1992 campaign. In 1993 and 1994, he was primarily back in the bullpen.
Craig Lefferts, we salute you for fighting the good fight when many had already accepted defeat and moved on.