I know it has been some time since we posted Mustache #2 on our list, but life happens. The Crew made the playoffs, one of our staff writers had some personal matters to attend to, and quite frankly those things took precedence. The good news, is that you all knew who it was going to be anyway. No surprises here:
Greatest Brewers Mustache of All-Time: Rollie Fingers
This man needs no introduction from me. I am nothing more than a sports blogger and he is one of the greatest relief pitchers in the history of baseball. Fingers single handedly created the Closers roll as we know it today. His accomplishments on the field are staggering:
- 7× All-Star selection (1973, 1974, 1975, 1976, 1978, 1981, 1982)
- 3× World Series champion (1972, 1973, 1974)
- 1981 AL MVP
- 1981 AL Cy Young Award
- 1974 World Series MVP
- 3× NL Rolaids Relief Man of the Year(1977, 1978, 1980)
- 1981 AL Rolaids Relief Man of the Year
- Oakland Athletics #34retired
- Milwaukee Brewers #34 retired
What more can you say about his pitching career. The guy is a legend. But we are not talking about him as a player, we are talking about his facial hair.
Rollie Fingers has, without a doubt, the most iconic facial hair in the history of baseball. Maybe even in the history of sports. For those of you who do not know, the mustache the Rollie sported is called a “Handlebar” mustache. During the 1970’s it was not particularly in fashion, until Fingers took the field with it for the first time.
Initially, Rollie grew the mustache in order to collect a $300 bonus from Oakland A’s owner Charles Finley. The story of the iconic lip sweater goes something like this:
Charles Finley wanted to sell tickets. As Spring training got under way in 1972, future Hall of Famer, Reggie Jackson showed up with a beard. No one on the team liked it and wanted Jackson to shave it off, so they decided that they would all refrain from shaving in hopes that Finley would ask them all to shave. Talk about your all-time backfire. Mr. Finley decided to award the player who had the most impressive facial decoration, with a $300 bonus. Rollie made the decision to fashion his mustache in the shape of the 19th century, which was the birth of baseball as we know it. From that silly promotion/bonus a legacy was born. Rollie never again shaved off his mustache. In fact he wears it to this very day.
As Brewers fans, we were fortunate enough to have him on our team for four seasons. His moustache is a symbol of the greatest era of Brewers baseball. Fingers’ mustache is permanently enshrined in Canton, Ohio. No one will ever forget Rollie Fingers or his iconic mustache.
The mustache is still making waves today. Most recently I saw Rollie’s stache in a Pepsi commercial. While I was not able to find it on-line (which is weird), I assume many of you have seen it. It is almost blasphemous, as Rollie rips off his mustache and places it on the Pepsi vendors lip. Did you see how much cooler the Pepsi guy got?
I could go on forever, but that would not be fair. Let’s see what Colin and Lynda have to say.
Rollie as number one? Who saw that coming? Oh wait, EVERYONE DID. Why? Because simply put, Rollie Fingers’s mustache is the quintessential mustache that defined an era of fine lip hair craftsmanship. If you don’t believe me, let’s try a little test. Close your eyes (after you’re done reading this, of course) and concentrate on the word mustache in your head.
What did you see? I bet five dollars it was Rollie Fingers. If you saw Rollie Fingers riding on a dinosaur, I hear that’s a sign of good fortune.
Rollie’s mustache is meticulously crafted, even to this day. The mighty mustache of the Brewers closer was first envisioned as an answer to a unique incentive program from the Oakland A’s front office. Any man who grew facial hair for his team received a bonus check. Fingers saw an opportunity, and he cashed in – big time. Though scholars maintain that the results are shrouded in mystery, baseball lore states that when the A’s saw the majesty of Rollie’s ‘stache they offered him minority ownership in the team and 10% of all concessions sales at the Coliseum. But Rollie, being true to form, declined and asked only for discounted mustache wax.
Not only does Rollie have one of the best mustache generation stories in history, he also helped define a whole generation of mustaches. The curls of his mustache harken back to a time of manly men who spent their days filled with gunfighting, fisticuffs and bear wrestling in the Wild West mixed with the delightful satisfaction that comes only from riding one of those old-timey bicycles whilst wearing a tuxedo. A true Gentleman’s mustache. He took that aura and translated it into his pitching – a one-of-a-kind delivery and presence that struck fear an wonderment into every batter who had to see the man and his mustache step off the rubber.
Every one who has tried to grow a mustache since has had the goal of Rollie’s lip sweater in mind. Every hipster you see walking around with ironic mustaches are thanks to Rollie. An unfortunate turn of events, to be sure, but sometimes that’s the price of greatness. Rollie’s mustache is the bar, and everyone else is just trying to reach it. Of course now we shower much more flattery and praise on mustaches than are probably necessary, and that too is thanks to the Brewers closer. The true essence of the mustache that balances so delicately abouve the mouth of Rollie Fingers is its understated beauty. He never flaunted his mustache. He never asked for praise or tribute to the ‘stache. He never let his mustache define him – they defined each other. That ‘stache, upon any other face, would not look as awesome.
If you ask anyone who Rollie Fingers is, most, if not all, would respond “He’s the Milwaukee Brewer with the cool mustache”. Cool doesn’t even begin to describe Finger’s mustache. It’s a masterpiece, and one of the most distinguished mustaches in baseball history. It’s iconic. Its the mustache that all men want, even the guy in the Pepsi commercials. The awesomeness of the ‘stache cannot and will not be duplicated. John Axford tried, and even though it was a successful attempt, the ‘stache just couldn’t hold a candle to the original. (Sorry Axford).
As a female bystander, the best part of the “lip sweater” are the curls. They are perfect, and very sexy (oh, I hope I can say that. LOL). Without the curls, it’s just a mustache. Nothing special about it. But add the curls and now the mustache has character and a sexiness about it. What female wouldn’t want to wrap those curls around their little fingers. I want to know how he has maintained that mustache after all these years!
I could get all technical on this but I’m going to leave that for the boys. I will sum it all up by saying this, Fingers mustache deserves to be #1 because it’s:
Different (from all others)
The mustache will withstand the test of time. 50 years from now, the mustache will remain #1 in Brewers history, and even in baseball history. And if I had a vote, it would have it’s own spot in Cooperstown.
Now, our resident Stache Specialist, Shawn Anderson from The Hall of Very Good, was unable to write us up a breakdown for Rollie. Shawn is currently preparing for the American Mustache Institutes “Stache Bash” in Chicago on Friday, where he will mingle with Milwaukee celebrity, and friend of RtB, John Axford. For those of you who do not know, Shawn runs the AMI blog, so his time is very valuable this week.
However, Shawn did not leave us high and dry, quite the contrary. He sent me a link to an interview he did with Rollie Fingers back in May of 2009, which in my opinion is waaayyyyy better than him talking about the mustache. Why talk about it, when he has already talked to it directly. Here is the link, please go and read it. Terrific interview. Shawn even gets Rollie to drop a curse word. True story.
This has been a wonderful experience. Thank you to Colin, Lynda, and Shawn for all of there hard work. Hopefully you all have learned a bit more about mustaches and the importance of mustaches to the Milwaukee Brewers franchise.
Tags: Brewers Mustaches Charles Finley Colin Bennett Greatest Mustaches Of All-time Handlebar Mustache Lynda Schneider Reggie Jackson Rollie Fingers Rollie Fingers Mustache Rollie Fingers Mustache Story The Hall Of Very Good