The other day, Milwaukee Brewers closer John Axford was pressuring Hunter Pence, via Twitter, to grow a mustache. We know that fashion is circular and things that were once popular sometimes come back around to be en vogue again.
After all, we have the Mustache Awards and the American Mustache Institute. College males try their best not to get laid in November (No Shave November) and March (Mustache March) and mostly look terrible doing it. Speaking of, God bless Brendan Ryan for trying to carry on his feeble mustache forever, but thankfully he shaved it.
Axford, above, is simply carrying on a tradition made famous by another Brewers great – Rollie Fingers.
For the longest time, the debate in our world was who’s mustache in baseball history was better – Fingers or Goose Gossage’s?
Both were great in their own way. We can’t decide which was better, but we’d probably side with Fingers, based simply on the handlebars and the dedication he must have taken in rolling them.
But, for our money, the best mustache in history was not represented by a single person. It was a battle between a pair of mustachioed ballplayers. And because Goose and Rollie were pitchers they didn’t have the joy of ‘Stache vs. ‘Stache.
This was a classic 1980s mustache battle. Both Kirk Gibson and Dennis Eckersley rocked sweet ‘staches that were very similar – thick top lip huggers. Eckersley has thankfully kept his while Gibson is going the Don Mattingly manager route and has shaved his.
While we salute Axford for his contributions to bringing the mustache to everyone in baseball, has it become a little overblown?
The mustache fad does not seem organic anymore. Not after Nike started making T-shirts with some of the better mustaches in baseball history. Not when a website has the 101 best mustache gifts ranging from pillows to rings to T’s.
After all, the Gibson-Eckersley battle was as organic as it gets – both guys wore the ‘stache as part of who they were. It was not forced. It was not overplayed. It was a ‘Stache Showdown.
While we appreciate the mustache and what it brings to sports and pop culture, we just don’t think we will have a better mustache battle than Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.