Thursday, November 10, 2011

Movember - Token American Style - NL East

Movember fever has swept the Room of Requirement

For those of you not familiar with Movember (as I wasn't prior to this year), it is a world-wide movement to raise funds and awareness for men's health, specifically prostate cancer.  At the beginning of November, previously clean-shaven men start growing moustaches and register on the Movember website (USA Canada) to track their progress and raise money.  Turns out it is pretty well known in Canada because last year the NHL got in on it (hockey, go figure.)

Lindsay got the ball rolling on her blog, tackling the topic with famous historical moustaches.  While brainstorming future posts, she solicited suggestions from the rest of the public history crew.  Soon names of political leaders, actors, athletes, and artists were flying about the room, everyone advocating their choices.  It became apparent that perhaps this topic was pretty broad for just one blog.  So a few of us have decided to do spin-offs.

As the Token American, I knew I had a responsibility tackle a specific area: moustaches in baseball.

Those of you who know me personally, know that there is only one man to start off this series for me - Michael Jack Schmidt.

Iron Mike

Ask your average Phillies fan who is the best player the club has ever seen, and most will say Mike Schmidt.  Schmidt spent his entire 18-year career in Philadelphia, along the way earning three National League MVPs, 12 All-Star nods, 10 Gold Gloves, and was named the The Sporting News Player of the Decade for the 1980s.  

Known for his slugging as much as his fielding, he racked up 548 career home runs, hitting 40 or more in three separate seasons, and at least 30 home runs 10 other times.  His success is frequently attributed to his signature stance  in which he would nearly turn his back to the pitcher and wave his derriere while waiting for the pitch.  In 1976, he hit four consecutive home runs in a single game, and his 48 round trippers in 1980 set a major league record for a third baseman.

On May 26, 1990 - just shy of one year after making his last MLB appearance, the Philadelphia Phillies retired Schmidt's uniform number 20.  Later they erected a statue of him outside the third base gate at Citizens Bank Park.

In 1995, Mike was inducted in the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York.  He earned an amazing 96.52% of the votes cast.

While his amazing skills on the diamond saw him into the Baseball Hall of Fame, his well known facial hair would also undoubtedly earn him a spot in any Moustache Hall of Fame.  So widely known, Nike has already immortalized it on a t-shirt.

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