This was by far the most hotly debated pick of this list. As you will see, some people felt like maybe this was the wrong choice. Would there be an uprising from Crew Nation? Would this shake the very foundation of mustache history? Will Batman and Robin escape from the Riddlers fiendish plan? Tune in to the next page for those answers…and more.
Pete Vuckovich: (1982 Cy Young award winner, last Brewer to win the award, and a one-time movie star)
I am not quite sure what makes this a controversial pick. Whenever a mustache is immortalized on film, it deserves it’s just reward right? Gorman Thomas is a name that you will see throughout this round table, and for good cause. However, this is about the mustache and it’s accomplishments. We need to remember that this series is not titled “Greatest mustached Brewers of All-Time”. If it was, Stormin’ Gorman probably takes this spot without a question. But, since that is not the title we go with the Vuck.
LO: I want to start this conversation off right. Describe what makes Pete’s mustache special, using mostly science fiction and fantasy references.
LS: Your questions are not easy, you can quote me on that. Since I’m not into science fiction or fantasy movies, except for Lord of the Rings, I had to ask a friend of mine, “What makes Vuckovich’s fu manchu special?” He said (and I quote) “Great porn stars sport fu manchus.” Would that qualify as the fantasy reference? Ok, maybe I should go back to referencing Lord of the Rings. Think of the ring – Gollum’s “Precious” – the possessive powers it contained. You didn’t dare fight it, and you didn’t dare wear the ring, as you became invisible. That’s the same power “The Fu Manchu” contained; it could instill fear into the hearts of all batters that dared to face it. While Vuckovich tried many things to shake the hold that “The Fu Manchu” had over him, he could only succumb to it.
LO: Maybe a different type of fantasy, but it still counts. Your turn Colin.
CB: Oh boy, It’s hard to get put on the spot like this…but honestly everything about Vuck just screams of a simpler, more extreme time. A time when only the most virile and strong could survive. Vuck’s enormous mustache, frame and spectacular mullet harken to the time of ancient barbarians like Conan. Just as soon as he’d light up a batter with a fastball, you could picture him shirtless hurling an axe at some hapless Saxon. A mustache like that belongs on only a few faces: wizard, warrior, and Pete Vuckovich.
LO: Well done. I thought you both did an excellent job on that question. While we are in the difficult question mode, let’s go with another one. Do you think that all of Vuck’s shenanigans (he would fidget, twitch, pace, and convulse while on the mound. He was known to cross his eyes and stick his tongue out at batters. He would spit in his glove, scream at umpires while in the stretch, and sometimes step to the back of the mound and dry heave) were actually his mustaches personality trying to escape?
CB: I would like the first crack at this this one. (Colin clears his throat) We know that, like many things in the universe beyond our control, the mustache chooses the man – not the other way around. The ‘stache that chose Pete was perhaps more powerful than the mind behind it. In every one of Vuck’s individual hijinks was a miniature battle between man and mustache for baseball destiny. When the two were in sync, there was nothing more beautiful in baseball.
L.S: I can refer back to my previous statement on this one. Vuckovich tried many things to shake the hold that “The Fu Manchu” had over him, but in the end he could only succumb to it. None of the antics worked. Not the fidgeting, twitching, pacing, eye crossing, or sticking out his tongue. Batters thought the antics were to distract them, which worked. But that was not Vuckovich’s intentions. He just couldn’t handle the power of “The Fu Manchu”.
L.O: Interesting takes. Now for the “elephant in the room question”. Why do you think Vuck deserves to be higher than say, Yount or even Gorman Thomas?
L.S: While Pete Vuckovich has a very superb fu manchu, I had picked Gorman Thomas as my #2, so I’m little disappointed. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with the Vuckovich’s fu manchu, but, to me, an fu manchu is an unfinished goatee. I like the old-fashioned mustaches, a la Bernie, Yount, Thomas, and, on occasion, Axford. Because of this, Thomas would be my #2. With that said, I will go on and do my best to honor Vuckovich.
C.B: I think Vuckovich’s mustache deserves this spotlight because not only because it embodied the unique talent that was Pete Vuckovich, but also because it served as an ambassador to both the world of mustaches and Brewers baseball. Little known fact; pete’s mustache originally had a credit in Major League. Everyone knows “The guy with the mustache” in that movie, and now with the marvels of the internet, generations of people will know that guy as Milwaukee Brewers Pitcher Pete Vuckovich, and his glorious mustache.
L.O: As I stated above, I am on Colin’s side. Pete is the last CY Young winner to wear a Brewers uniform, do you think his mustache put a curse on the award for future Brewers pitchers?
C.B: Not at all. His mustache is an invitation. Like the hammer of Thor, only those who are most worthy to wear a bitchin’ lip sweater can achieve the glory of the Cy Young. Cy himself had a mustache.
L.S: Colin is right. I do not believe in curses. The reason the Brewers have not seen another Cy Young winner is not for me to know or explain. It’s out of my hands. The powers that be – The Voters – control that area. Who knows, maybe “The Fu Manchu” has the ultimate power, and with that power, no other Brewer pitcher will receive a CY Young award. I am hoping that John Axford is taken into consideration for the award this season. He’s been a pleasant surprise. Maybe Axford’s “Stache” will be able to overcome the power of “The Fu Manchu” once and for all, and any curse will finally be broken.
L.O: Now I want to discuss Vuck’s movie career. We are all aware of Pete’s appearance in the original ‘Major League’ movie (if not, I have provided a picture above to refresh your memory). If the movie ‘Major League’ was based in real life, would Pete have used his mustache power to destroy Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn in that playoff game?
L.S: I’m not exactly sure how Rick “The Wild Thing” Vaughn could ignore “The Fu Manchu”, but it definitely wouldn’t have happened in the real world!
CB: If Major League was based in real life, the Indians would have been murdered single-handedly by the Giant beast that is Vuckovich. Not only would he have shamed the entire Indians roster with facial hair alone – the mere sight of Vuck’s lip sweater would have made Cleveland manager Lou Brown’s mustache recede into his face. After that he would have knocked a line drive straight through the face of Vaughn, thus ended any hopes for the Indians and subsequently saving the world from “Two and a Half Men”.
L.O: Ok, we have been doing a lot of silly things so far and that is good, but let’s go out on a journalistic note. In all seriousness, do you think that Vuck was the greatest STARTING pitcher in this teams history?
L.S: While Vuck was a great pitcher, I can’t say he was the greatest STARTING pitcher in team history. I could look at all the stats and compare to other starters, but that would take too long. Instead I’m going to look at my history as a fan of the Milwaukee Brewers. I was only 5 when the great ’82 team was around. I can’t recall that far back; I can barely remember last week! In my pre-teen years, I was a fan of WWE (WWF back then) and in the ’90s, I followed my high school teams, and college basketball. Guess I’m going to have go with the teams in the last decade and this decade, so that would make Ben Sheets the GREATEST STARTING pitcher in Brewers franchise. He was great. Guarantee win every time he took the mound. Even in the injury-prone years, he was good. Sheets may not have won a CY Young award, but that doesn’t take away his 4 All-Star appearances. I enjoyed watching him pitch for the Brewers. He’s the best!
C.B: I think that nod goes to either Teddy, Caldwell or Slaton in terms of overall pitching performance – but I will say that Vuckovich was one of the best at controlling his game when he was on the mound. His career .606 win percentage and the fact that he only gave up 42 Homers in nearly 600 hits in his five seasons in Milwaukee should speak to that. He had the attitude, he had the control, and he had the mustache. That definitely puts him in the top five in my book.
L.O: I think that is a tremendous note to end this discussion. On a side note, it was announced yesterday, that Mr. Vuckovich has been hired by the Seattle Mariners as a special assistant to GM Jack Zduriencik (former Brewers talent scout). Congrats Pete, hopefully you can bring some swagger and mustache hair to a baby-faced franchise. Now, as is tradition, some words from our resident Stache Specialist.
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.
"I think Pete Vuckovich gets ranked so high here (personally, I’d have gone with Vuckovich’s former teammate Gorman Thomas) because of his involvement in the 1989 movie “Major League”. What?!? You say you didn’t know that “Vuke” played the iconic (yet ficticious) Yankees first baseman and Steve Balboni lookalike Clu Haywood?Then you might want to leave this quick pop quiz to your much smarter, more intelligent (and probably better looking) friends.Whom was this spoken about? “(Vuke or Clu) leads the league in most offensive categories, including nose hair. When this guy sneezes, he looks like a party favor.”Who said this…Vuke or Clu? “Show me someone that doesn’t mind losing, and I’ll show you a loser.”Lastly…who was known to sometimes wear “two different brands of spikes, one Puma and one Adidas”?The answer is all “Vuke”, idiot. Clu Haywood isn’t real…Pete Vuckovich was your 1982 American League Cy Young Award winner. And played Clu. Wait…what?!? MIND CONFUSION!"