This one is very special for our site. The man who rests in the #3 spot is the only active Brewer to make this list. Not only is this man a good friend of our site, but he has also become one of the best closers in the game of baseball today. Of course by now you know who I am talking about. The man, the myth, the legend, John Axford.
John Axford: (has recorded 41 saves this season , has 66 career saves in just over one full season as the Brewers closer)
John holds a very special place in my heart. So this choice was very sentimental for me. The second article I ever wrote as a member of this staff, was the first edition of John Axford Mustache Facts. Since the first time I saw him take the mound, I knew that he would be a Brewers icon in the not so distant future. Partly because of his facial hair, but mostly because of that upper 90′s fastball. Here we are, a little more than a year after his closer debut and he is without a doubt one of the best in the game.
Many people will argue that John is still too new to be on this list. That is poppycock. When Axford joined the club he made a bold statement by rocking the “Rollie Fingers” mustache, especially considering his role on the team. All you had to do was watch him throw and you knew that he deserved to wear that mustache. When Trevor Hoffman fell apart last season, Axford stepped in and was more than any of us could have asked for. In my opinion, he has earned his spot in the Top 3 greatest mustaches in the history of this franchise. Let’s see what our panel thinks.
Also, it has come to my attention that I need to do this for everyone:
L.O: Let’s start with the question that I am sure all of our readers will be asking, does it bother you that Axford has only been with the team for a short while, yet is still ranked so highly on this list?
C.B: Short answer: no. Long answer: nope.
L.S: John Axford with the 3rd best mustache in Brewers history. Shocking? Not really. In my eyes, nobody has had a better mustache in the history of the Brewers than Rollie Fingers, but when Axford sported the Rollie Finger’s mustache last year, I thought, wow this guy is going to bring back the coolness of mustaches. It also showed the “laid back, have fun” personality that is John Axford. This may only be his 2nd full season with the Brewers, but the fans love him, not because he’s an outstanding closer, but because his mustache is THE closer.
C.B: Ax is a terrific man, with a terrific mustache. The man has at least – at least – FIVE different mustache variants that he can go with. The man could, by all rights, have at least 2 of the top 5 spots on this list. When it comes to great mustachery, there is no age limit. Precluding, of course, ages when one cannot grow a mustache.
L.O: You both mentioned the multitude of mustaches he can (and has) pulled off. Which did you like better, the handle-bar or the new SUPER fu manchu?
L.S: As much as I like the handle-bar look, it will always remind me of Rollie Fingers, and the highly mentioned ’82 team (as good as that team was, it’s time to move on and embrace the 2011 Brew Crew). I want Axford to be himself and create his own look. If it means sticking with the SUPER fu manchu or some other crazy ‘stache, I’m good with that. Maybe Axford could create another poll to see which mustache fans would like him to sport during the post-season.
C.B: The handle-bar is a beast of a mustache. It is quintessential bad-assery. But the new fu that the Ax is rocking is something else entirely. It’s like if a cowboy, a samurai and a pirate had a child, and that child was raised by wolves, who were in turn raised by sharks. Also the sharks had awesome mustaches and worked for Batman…I digress, but suffice it to say that his mustache reaches awesome levels that makes the Fonz pee his pants.
L.O: Hmm, you both have interesting takes, yet neither of you really said which one you liked best. So I guess we will just say we like them both.
If you could pinpoint one thing that makes Ax’s mustache so special, what is it?
CB: The funny thing about mustaches is that it’s often difficult to separate the mustache from the man. Indeed, as we’ve discussed before, the ‘stache is an extension of the man behind it. In Axford’s case, it defines him perfectly. It is ever-growing, meticulously crafted, singular in appearance and it strikes fear and wonder in the hearts of men. It’s the mustache equivalent of the Highlander – there can be only one.
L.S: I could not agree with Colin more. Axford’s mustache is special and unique in that it defines him. It’s what the fans recognize – besides the awesome saves streak he has going :)
LO: Now comes the self-indulgent portion of this round-table discussion. What is your favorite John Axford Mustache Fact?
C.B: I hate to toot my own horn here but this one was a real gem:
John Axford’s Mustache does not get trimmed. Instead, the individual hairs bare-knuckle box for the right to stay in the mustache.
L.S: I thoroughly enjoyed reading all of the John Axford Mustache Facts. They were all great and quite entertaining. The thought and creativity put into each article, each fact, is amazing. I am finding it impossible to pick a favorite mustache fact, but I can say that the “John Axford Jr Facts” had me smiling. Once I started reading the first one, I couldn’t wait to move onto the next. JR had a lot to live up to before he was even born.
L.O: I am going to go with the original JAMF: John Axford’s mustache has it’s own color swatch at Sherwin-Williams — Winchester Oak. This was the first one that I came up with on that crisp November afternoon, and that lead to 6 more installments of JAMF.
This next question, I am almost afraid to ask (for jinx purposes). If the Brewers win the World Series, will Ax’s nickname be changed to “The Stache” or maybe even “The Manchu”? A la Brain Wilson’s “The Beard”
C.B: I think some people (I’m looking at you ESPN) will try to give him some sort of mustachioed nickname, but in all honesty I don’t think it fits. I think, given his film background, and awesome facial hair setup, his name should be Kikuchiyo – the seventh of Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai. Yeah, it’s a nerdy foreign film reference, but also a bad-ass, misfit warrior name that exudes power, victory and occasionally comic relief. In a word – it is Axford.
L.S: Which brings me on to the nickname of John Axford: Axman or shall we start calling him “The Stache”? I believe that the #1 Brewer mustache should have the honor of carrying “The Stache” name. Beside, I prefer being original (not copycats), so if that means we stick with “Axman”, I’m totally cool with that. Of course, this could be another great poll possibility created by Axford himself.
L.O: Good. I am glad we can all agree on this. No matter what ESPN or Fox tries to tell us, his nickname remains “Ax Man”. Now, I had a few more questions but I think this last one will be an appropraite way to end this discussion. Would you like to see Axford shave off the mustache for charity some day?
L.S: For my sister and I, Axford and his mustache remind us of our favorite uncle, Dan. His mustache is just as perfect as Axford’s. I don’t recall a time when Dan didn’t have his mustache and I can’t see Axford without his. Never shave it! Even if the wife begs you too!
C.B: Some charity out there would rather pay Ax to continue growing his mustache, because shaving it off would make the world a far duller place to live. That being said, knowing the kind of guy Ax is, he’d do it in a heartbeat. Of course then he would recede from the spotlight for a week or two, and come back with an even more bitchin’ mustache to display for the world. And that is worth seeing.
L.O: This went really well. I think that this is a solid #3 pick and I expect John to be a huge part of the Brewers franchise for many years to come. Thank you Colin and Lynda, as always, and now on to our guy Shawn for his take on our #3 pick.
Shawn Anderson is a very good friend of our site. He runs the wildly popular Hall of Very Good and also contributes to The American Mustache Institutes Blog. I have brought him in to be our “Resident Stache Specialist. After each of the top 5 we will get an overview from a man who studies baseball, while admiring face foliage on a regular basis. Who better to share his wisdom on all things mustache.
Simply put, the beauty of what John Axford’s upper lip producing is about as awe-inspiring as what dude is doing on the field. Not since the days of Dan Quisenberry, Dennis Eckersley and former Brewer Rollie Fingers has there been a closer as follically formidable as Axford.
Sure, many have tried…but even more have failed. They’ve either shaved everything off completely, gone with the spousal compromise (the goatee) or, even worse, chosen a lifestyle of glamorizing the excessive chin tuft.
And, yes, I’m talking specifically about the Joel Hanrahans and Ryan Franklins out there. To me, you either go glorious (a la Axford) or go full on Brian Wilson crazy…there is no in between. No substitutes.
But what gets lost in all of the hullabaloo of Axford’s “lower nose forest” is the fact that he is, basically, carrying the torch for all the Mustached (Moustached?) Canadians out there. And the fact that he can put up the numbers he is with all that weight on his shoulders is rather impressive.
Please watch (and enjoy) what Axford had to say when Aaron Perlut, president of the American Mustache Institute caught up with the Brewers hero last month in St. Louis.