Monday, November 22, 2010
The Best Blue Jays Moustaches Of All Time
By Ian Hunter
Perhaps one area of expertise where their contributions have been most impressive are in the department of epic moustaches. Looking through the archives, there are countless team photos where a moustache has been adorned by a member of the Toronto Blue Jays.
There were hundreds upon hundreds of candidates, but only 20 men could be honoured as having the Best Blue Jays Moustaches of All Time.
We begin the list with the most short-lived moustache of the group. Jose Bautista is typically known as a beard man, but on August 17th earlier this year, he whittled down his facial hair into a prim and proper moustache. The following night he was clean-shaven, but still made his mark on the moustache world nonetheless.
Every time I hear one of Rance Mulliniks anecdotes during the Blue Jays television broadcast, I can’t help but wonder what the man would look like without his signature moustache. One has to believe those stories would become a little less intriguing if we didn’t picture him with the moustache.
Jim Clancy spent 12 glorious seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays, and so did his moustache. Clancy is a "meat and potatoes" moustache kind of guy: nothing fancy, just the good old fashioned American moustache.
Unless you saw Dennis Lamp’s name in the Best Moustaches in Baseball Part Three or have a very extensive knowledge of the mid-80’s Blue Jays rosters, you might not even recognize this often unheralded Blue Jays moustache.
The thing I love about Pat Borders moustache is it's subtle, but it also has enough presence to let people know he means business. I mean, Mark McGwire tried to mess with Borders at the plate and he paid for it. The 'stache also may or may not have helped Pat Borders land this Linda Hamilton look-alike.
Even as the new Blue Jays play-by-play commentator on Rogers Sportsnet, Buck Martinez has always been known for his hair. Earlier in his career, it just so happened to be for the long flowing hair above his lip, rather than on his head. Maybe one of these days we can convince Buck to grow the silver 'stache again for old times sake.
I know what you're thinking ... Paul Mira-who? His career was not quite as storied as some other Blue Jays on this list, but Paul Mirabella's 14th place on the Best Blue Jays Moustaches of All Time can be largely attributed to the merit of his moustache rather than his playing career.
That image of Jesse Barfield is iconic and it makes me smile every time. The perfect combination of that moustache along with the Jheri curl made Jesse Barfield one of the most stylish players in Blue Jays history.
Duane Ward saved an unprecedented 45 games in his storybook season of 1993, a club record that still stands to this day. B.J. Ryan came close with 38 saves in 2006, and one wonders if Ryan could have eclipsed the record if he had donned a moustache similar to Duane Ward's.
Unfortunately, Brian Tallet is a Blue Jay no longer, but he left his undeniable stamp on this club when he adorned an especially epic moustache during the 2009 season. Tallet sported a few different variations of facial hair combinations, however none were quite as impressive as this simple moustache.
Whether it was as a player or a manager later in his career, Ernie Whitt always brought his signature moustache out to play for the Toronto Blue Jays. He cracks the Top 10 with a stache that would make even Chuck Norris a little jealous.
Combined with fellow moustache-clad man Mark Eichhorn, both Cox and Eichhorn comprised two parts of the stellar 1993 Blue Jays bullpen. Now that I think about it, wouldn’t it be cool if they had a buddy cop show: Cox & Eichhorn?
Willie Upshaw joined the Blue Jays the second year they were in the league, and promptly made his presence felt by becoming the first Blue Jays to have 100 RBI's in a season in 1983. Here's a little known fact: Upshaw also recorded 100 MBI's that season. MBI's meaning Moustache Being Incredible.
Morris didn’t have a very long tenure with the Toronto Blue Jays, however he surely made his presence felt in the clubhouse when it came to lip sweaters. The sheer size of his ‘stache is something to marvel at, and rivals that of fellow redhead Lanny McDonald.
Who says there's no such thing as moustache envy? In 1979, Johnson got into a locker room brawl with teammate and fellow moustache man Rich "Goose" Gossage. Johnson was left relatively unscathed, but Gossage landed on the DL for 2 months because of his injuries sustained during the fight.
When I think of Derek Bell, I think of two things: The Trenches and Moustaches. Seriously, I couldn't picture Bell without a moustache at all, and it could very well be permanently fused to his face.
Some major leaguers have said they've never seen anybody throw a pitch as slow as Mark Eichhorn did. Could it possibly be that they were just looking for an excuse to pause and admire Eichhorn's perfectly coiffed cookie duster.
What Sal Fasano lacked in offensive contributions as a catcher, he certainly made up for with entertainment value associated with his signature soup strainer. Props to Fasano who still rocks the ‘stache proudly within the Blue Jays organization to this day as manager for the Lansing Lugnuts.
I’m not saying Dave Stieb’s moustache helped him toss a no-hitter … okay, yes I am. Without that moustache, Stieb could not have mustered the determination to finally harpoon and reel in that proverbial Moby Dick that eluded him so many years.
Say what you will about Cito Gaton’s managerial skills, but the man sure knows how to grow one badass moustache. The team’s moustache tribute to the former Blue Jays skipper on “Thank You Cito” solidified Cito's status as the number one moustache man in franchise history.
Honorable mentions: Travis Snider for his creative use of eye black during "Thank You Cito" night, and The Man with the Golden Arm from 1 Blue Jays Way for his Opening Night 'stache.
Apologies to all the other Blue Jays moustaches to whom I could not include on the list, but there was just so much awesomeness that it was extremely difficult just whittling it down to even twenty.
Often times I think we take for granted just how fortunate we are to have so many great players wear the moustache as a sort of Blue Jays code of honour. Feel free to leave any suggestions in the comments or remark on your favourite Blue Jays Moustache of All Time.