Thursday, July 27, 2006

The Lectric Shave Phillies

The sight of Sal Fasano with his new, corporate Bronx Pinstripers appearance on ESPN's Weds. Nite Basebore on the day in which he was acquired from the Phillies (one day after he'd been designated for assignment), well ... STOP!
That sentence was too long and was deemed "heading nowhere."

Anyway, Our Pal Sal landed that new job with the Yanks, which meant that he had to achieve Yankee-corporate conformity by shaving off the massive Fu Manchu moustache and clipping the hair which had made him a fan fave for his almost-100-game Phillie career.

Naturally, the sub-.500 Phils now no longer have any rebel identity ... no one with stubble or scruff or a mini-mullet or individuality.
Every player in the Phillie dugout nowadays looks as though he just stepped out of a Pert Plus commercial.
Which may or may not account for the daily/nightly run-of-the-mill performances.

This bland, boring, non-renegade, anti-iconoclastic mindset forces us to harken back to an era known as The '70s, '80s and '90s when the unshaven would appear at the Vet and unabashedly lay their moustaches and beards on the line for the sake of another magical 82-80 season.
It's particularly noteworthy since this Fireman's Fund Flashback coincides with a week in which Sal Fasano was required to tidy up; Harold Reynolds' over-manicured goat-tee was kicked off of Baseball Tonight; and the forefather of baseball beardsmen, Bruce Sutter, will be enshrined in Cooperstown on Sunday.

Working from memory (without peeking inside the Haystack archive vault downstairs), the highlights of Phillie Facework are:

Most-Menacing Goat-Tee -- Probably closer Jose Mesa with strong "first-runner-up" consideration for Steve Ontiveros and Gary Redus. Ontiveros and Redus weren't in Philly for very long -- and Mike Williams lost valuable points for switching his look from non-descript Phillie pitcher with an ordinary 'stache to All-Star closer with a shaved head and fearsome goat-tee with the Pirates. The goat-tee that Terry Mulholland grew late in the '93 season was completely bad-ass and Satanic-looking, but then ... Terry's arm was dead and he was subsequently dealt to the Yankees.
Special mention: To Krukker (who twinned his goat-tee w/ his famous mullet) and the late Nino Espinosa, who was wearing a goat-tee back in '79 before it was in vogue.

First To Do Damage With A Full-Beard -- Relief pitcher Gene Garber, whose full-whiskered look and kooky windup and delivery might've been the reason for the most-painful outcome in Phillies' history (see Game 3 of the '77 NLCS).

Blackest of the Blackbeards -- Here's to Steve Bedrosian and the Cy Young Award he won in a year (1987) in which they should not have handed out the award. Sorry, Bedrock.

Overgroomed Blackbeard -- Reliever Jeff Parrett. It always appeared as though he spent all morning clipping it with the toiletry-kit scissors and/or a Braun shaver of some sort.

Battery Beards -- Any time that closer Al Holland was firing fastballs to catcher Ozzie Virgil, it was as good a bearded pitcher-catcher combo as there was in the league.

'Fro-Beard Tag-Team -- Nearly 30 years ago, it was quite a sight in the outfield of the Vet, seeing the chunky, milky-skinned Greg Luzinski in LF, the long-legged, ball-hawking Garry Maddox in CF and the swift Bake McBride in RF. While the Bull didn't grow his full beard until his days with the Chisox, Maddox and McBride were the bearded/afro-wearin' combo which were the most-feared in the game at the time.
Garry Maddox ... it always looked like he had a black carpet Crazy Glued to his face. And, no one wore an afro with more pride than Bake -- especially when he used it and his 28-oz. bat for one of the most-important hits (the 3-run HR in Game 1 of the '80 Series) in the Phillies' 123-year history.

Best 'Stache & Sideburns Combo Platter -- In a landslide, Lonnie Smith. Truth be told, the look was a perfect fit for "Skates."

Same Initials As Sal Fasano, But Not As Beloved -- Ten years ago, pitcher Steve Frey wore the Fu Manchu in Philly. But, since it lacked thickness and flair, the "Frey Manchu" never caught on.

Non-Traditional Americans With Traditional Moustaches -- Just a little something to keep alive the days when Nicaraugan pitcher Porfiriano Altamirano was peering in for the signal from Venezuelan catcher Baudilio Diaz.
They called the Central American with the moustache "Porfi" while the South American with the same moustache was known as "Bo."
It was important to get Porfi and Bo into the mix right there.

Managerialstache -- It wasn't a great look for skipper Nick Leyva. Hence, the Phils committed stache-icide when they axed Nick.

The .600 'Stache -- That's what the mustachioed Del Unser did as a pinch-hitter in the '80 postseason (.455 overall in the NLCS and WS). In fact, Delbert hit .310 as a pinch-hitter in '79 and '80.
We probably need a special mention here for the other mustachioed PH of the same era -- Greg Gross.

Worst Coverage -- Tommy Greene should win (but not without a serious push from Marty Bystrom), but he did put his disorganized, incomplete scruff to good use to throw a no-hitter against the Expos. So, with his scrawny goat-tee and free-flowing mullet ... let's hear it, ladies and gentlemen, for Mitch Williams.

Quality Stubble Award -- (tie) Either Glenn Wilson or Chris James, those lovable, slow-footed OFs who twinned full 'staches with six days worth of stubble. The nod probably goes to Wilson based on the fact that he was a Phillie All-Star in '85 ... combined with the fact that when most of us think of Chris James, we automatically think not of Chris James but rather his dreamy, clean-shaven brother, Craig James.

Thickest 'Stache -- (White guy) Gotta be Doug Jones with the push-broom model -- although the two seasons that Sparky Lyle spent in Philly give us something to think about. (Black guy) Likely Ken Howell.

Best 'Stache By A Phillie Pitcher From The '95 All-Star Game -- Heathcliff Slocumb. This was a cheap attempt to get his pencil-thin 'stache some pub.

Least-Tinted Growth -- (tie ... probably) Either Bruce Ruffin's blonde moustache or whatever blondish-reddish crap Keith Millwood had on his face that week.

039.jpg image by cjrau
Grayest Of The Graybeards -- Hands down ... Johnny Wockenfuss.

Worst Application Of A 'Stache To Hide A Pockmarked Complexion -- Before anyone looks around and then quietly whispers, "Schmidty?" ... get real. Bob Walk had that dark, skimpy 'stache which looked as though it was scribbled onto his upper lip ... an obvious attempt to divert our attention from what was really wrong with his face.

Worst Porn-'Stache -- (tie) The years in which Lefty, Bowa or Von Hayes broke from tradition and experimented with moustaches which were completely wrong for their faces. "Runner-up" consideration goes out to Randy Lerch.

Best Grosstache -- Tough call. But, since Kevin Gross was a mighty inconsistent pitcher while Greg Gross was reliable off the bench ... give it to Greg.

Best Dickiestache -- Dickie Thon (Dickie Noles never had a moustache, but he did have a drinking problem ... which he apparently kicked).

Best Vookstache -- Definitely the one worn by John Vukovich during his 17 years as a Phillie coach (which he probably still wears around the front office). Note: George Vukovich didn't grow his 'stache 'til he went to Cleveland.

Least-Productive 'Stache -- Rick Schu. Although, now that ya mention it ... Schu and Steve Lake might actually be the same person

Natural 'Stache-icity -- (three-way tie) ... Let's face it: Juan Samuel, Pete Incaviglia and Shane Rawley were all born to wear a 'stache.

Hopefully, no one has been excluded from this off-the-cuff overview.
We now return you to your regular programming of Pat Burrell asking, "Is it time for me to pose for the Wheaties box now?"

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