The Oakland A’s are here to do two things: win some baseball games, and grow some mustaches. Over the years, they’ve been excellent at both.
The A’s probably didn’t invent the mustache, though history can’t be certain. What we can say for sure is that they revolutionized the art of upper lipholstry in Major League Baseball, in the 1970s when the Mustache Gang defied the league’s tradition of tidy grooming and used the power of their whiskers to win three straight championships. Their 1972 World Series matchup against the clean-cut Cincinnati Reds was dubbed the Hairs vs. the Squares.
In the decades since, the rest of the sport has caught up, and now facial hair is commonplace. But we’ve seen some mighty impressive soup strainers over the years, so let’s appreciate a few of the best and then take a vote at the end. No beards or goatees here, just staches.
We may as well start with the obvious. Rollie’s handlebars are probably the most iconic mustache in baseball history, and the standard by which all others are measured. The Swingin’ A’s of the 70s were full of face foliage, but this is the one people remember most, and the Hall of Famer still has it to this day.
Four decades later, a new set of handlebars took the mound at the Coliseum. This time it was Mengden, nailing the look just like Rollie had before him. Even better, he combined it with an old-timey over-the-head windup to complete the retro style. At one point the stache briefly disappeared, but it soon came back.
Now Fasano is a coach for the reigning champion Braves, but from 2000-01 he was a catcher for the A’s, as part of an 11-year playing career. His biggest highlight in Oakland was when he hit a homer so far that it shattered a suite window beyond the left field seats, but reports suggest the glass might just have been intimidated by his mean bristles. Our photo database doesn’t have a lot of him on the A’s, so I used a more recent 2009 likeness to properly show off the majesty, but click here to see him wearing green-and-gold.
Gossage is the second Hall of Fame closer on this list, though he was only with the A’s briefly toward the end of his career. The photo below doesn’t quite capture the full ferocity of his snot mop, which batters would see when he glared them down and delivered a 100 mph fastball high-and-tight.
This might be three mustaches stacked on top of each other, and that rug combined with his shaggy locks and goofy personality (and great pitching) made him a joy to watch last summer. He’s like if Matt Stairs was a reliever.
Hendu was a great player and a big part of the 1988-90 dynasty, but perhaps his most memorable feature was the biggest, warmest smile you’ve ever seen. It was also framed by a pristine mouth sweater, among various other styles over the years.
But perhaps you prefer a more traditional pushbroom, rather than all those more elaborate designs. Lopes had a forest that would make Tom Selleck jealous. The best photo in our database is black and white for some reason, though it’s from 1983.
Like that last one, but want it in red? Garner has you covered, with this nose hedge out of exactly the decade you think it’s from. Many years later he returned to the A’s as a coach, and his stache game was still on point.
Sierra had no shortage of style, from his flashy jewelry to his emphatic leg kick at the plate, and his well-manicured face follicles were the perfect complement.
Reggie Jackson started the trend, and Rollie is the enduring image, but Sal was the Captain of the Mustache Gang. This list isn’t complete without his caterpillar.
Yet another Hall of Fame closer, Eck changed the way relievers were used, but visually he kept 70s style alive well into the 90s. His lip doily was a big part of his fearsome windup, and a familiar detail in his signature celebration pose.
There have been many others over the years, but these are 11 of the best we’ve seen in Oakland. If you think I crucially missed anybody, then please share in the comments!
For now, let’s take a vote. Which stache is your favorite? It seems pointless to include Rollie, since he’d win in a landslide, so let’s choose the honorary runner-up behind him.
Honorable mention to Reggie the Stachefather, and also to Mike Epstein, pictured below on the left.