Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Movember - Token American Style - AL West

For background on Movember see my original post.
Support the cause - donate to Steve, and the UWO Geography Gentlemen!
Be sure to check out Lindsay's Movember blog! 

When I started doing research for my baseball moustache hall of fame, I found a surprising number of sites dedicated specifically to ballplayers facial hair.  Some ranked players according to the impact their whiskers had on their legacy, while others simply listed their favorites.  But no matter what site I consulted, there was one name that appeared over and over, and frequently ranked number one.  It was none other than the Oakland A's Rollie Fingers!

Roland "Rollie" Fingers
Though Fingers was a starter throughout his minor league career, he established himself in the majors as a late inning closer.  In the 1970s, an era allowing for greater opportunities for closers than had previously been available, Fingers' excellence in relief allowed him to gradually increase his annual saves totals past 30.  In 1980 he broke Wilhelm's record of 227 saves, and eventually finished with 341, a record that stood until Jeff Reardon passed it in 1992.  (The same year Fingers was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.)

Some of Rollie's career highlights include seven All-Star appearances, three World Series championships and a World Series MVP, he won the AL MVP and Cy Young Award in 1981, and was the Rolaids Relief Man of the Year for both leagues.  Fingers is also one of only a few MLB players to have his number retired by more than one club (Oakland Athletics and Milwaukee Brewers.)

However, Fingers wasn't known just for his pitching ability.  His waxed handlebar moustache was originally grown to earn a $300 bonus from A's owner Charles Finley.  Finley, who was known for all kinds of gimmicks, offered prize money to the player who could grow and maintain the best facial hair for opening day in 1972.  Fingers went all out and modeled his whiskers after players of the late 19th century.  Finley went a step farther and came up with "Moustache Day" at the ballpark, where any fan with a moustache could get in free.  Though a majority of the other players shaved their moustaches off after the team traded most of their players in 1975-76, Fingers maintained his and still has one today.  His dedication to the upkeep of this classic facial hair earns him a spot in my Moustache Hall of Fame.

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