Great moments in ’82 Brewers facial hair
The start of the Brewers’ 2011 season can only mean one thing: It’s time to reflect on facial hair in baseball. While beards might be trendy this season—what with the Giants’ Brian Wilson having toured the late-night circuit with his charcoal-black beard after the World Series—we in Milwaukee remember possibly the greatest group of hairy-faced men to ever play the game: the 1982 Brewers.
Though the early ’80s brought the era of Reagan and the almost total hair-hegemony of Aquanet, it would take several years before baseball players would get with the culturally-conservative times and shave their facial hair. And the ’82 Brewers were letting that hairy flag fly most of all. Here are just a few of the vintage Crew’s notable mustaches, beards, and hairstyles.
1. Rollie Fingers
The most iconic outgrowth of filamentous biomaterial on the ’82 Brew Crew belonged to one Roland Glen Fingers. Described on his website as “a pioneer of modern relief pitching,” “Rollie” was also a master of waxed, finely-curled facial hair, more commonly known as the handlebar mustache. Though he sported it as far back as Charlie Finley’s Oakland A’s in the ’70s, Rollie’s mustache reached its formal apex with the ’82 Brewers. It became an S-shaped black hole showing the hapless batter a window into the abyss—and, more importantly, it made it seem like he was always smiling when he pitched.
2. Gorman Thomas
Famously remembered riding his Harley through downtown during the ticker tape parade following a tragic Game 7 loss, Gorman Thomas had a less flamboyant look. But it wasn’t modest, either. Aside from a mustache so bushy that at times it looked like a gopher was trying to impregnate his mouth, Stormin’ Gorman’s rustic look was compounded by shaggy hair that winged out like an eagle’s crest, and an occasional field of stubble that seemed almost afraid of the ’stache above it. Picture Parks And Recreation’s Ron Swanson once he finally goes off-grid.
3. Robin Yount
If anyone could pull off the horseshoe mustache with more quiet dignity than Robin Yount, we’re not aware of this person. Incidentally, “Rockin’ Robin” was completely hairless on his entire body prior to the 1982 season, an anomaly of nature that biologists have been studying for years.
4. Cecil Cooper and Pete Vuckovich
Cecil Cooper knew the simple elegance of a well-trimmed beard, while Pete Vuckovich deserves credit for naturally maintaining a dark horseshoe ’stache. Vuckovich also deserves props for later appearing in Major League as an extremely burly and rotund Yankee, and for jumping on pick-up cabs in Lakeland commercials. Oh, and for winning the 1982 Cy Young award.
5. Jim Gantner
Last but not least, Jim Gantner was going for a much more subtle vibe. Think soft-rock producer who owns several yachts, and a creme-colored stache that’s unassuming yet not without supreme confidence. By far the smoothest Brewer.