We are living in the undisputed golden age of athletic facial hair. I am convinced that never in the history of American sports have we experienced such a high percentage of athletes sporting some degree of fashionable whiskers.
Now I am well aware that there have been some players memorable athletic facial hair in the past.
Wilt Chamberlain’s mustache or occasional goatee helped him score in a number of ways. Rollie Fingers handlebar mustache surely distracted at least a few hitters. Joe Namath rocked the porn stache for a bit and was paid $10,000 to shave it in 1969.
We shall not overlook the Walt Frazier mutton chops or the Civil War General look sported by Goose Gossage and his thick mustache.
And of course playoff beards in hockey are a long-standing tradition.
But today thick beards are not only in hockey arenas, superstars from various sports like James
Harden, Bryce Harper, Conor McGregor and Lebron James are all part of Hair Nation.
And this hair raising trend doesn’t stop at those with those with the the thickest wallets. It seems like almost everyone in every sport at least has some designer stubble if not the full growth. Look no further than this years Red Sox team. I never recall a season where so many players did less grooming.
In a time when Dollar Shave Club is spending millions on advertising, it is apparently being wasted on anyone who gets paid to play for the Sox. My rough count has 80% of the team with beards or at least scruff. Maybe more.
The Red Sox are the polar opposite of the Yankees who still have a no facial hair policy. While David Price says he’ll never shave his scraggly beard to play there, Johnny Damon shed his cave man look to meet the Yankees dress code which has been in place since 1973.
I’m sure this is a temporary trend, you know, hair today gone tomorrow. But for at least this season the facial hair is in!
By Jeff Solari