Derek Holland of the Texas Rangers is a young southpaw with a live fastball and a devastating slider. He’s a mainstay in the starting rotation and has played an integral role in two Rangers World Series appearances. Holland woke up Wednesday morning, May 30, sporting a respectable 4.05 earned run average with a 4-3 record in the 4th year of his young, ascending MLB career. He also woke up with one of the more awesomely disgusting mustaches these eyes have seen. He even complemented his ‘stache with what I can only describe as a mid-length horse mane mullet. “What does Wednesday morning have to do with anything?” you’re probably thinking. Well, later that day the youngster got tuned up by the Mariners in the worst outing of his career thus far. Only lasting 1.2 innings, Holland gave up 8 earned runs on 8 hits, two of which were round-trippers. The Mariners routed the Rangers 21-8. Holland showed up to the clubhouse that morning with the hairless, tender face of a newborn. He had shaven his hairy power source clean off.
Before Wednesday’s forgettable outing, the Rangers were among the hottest teams in baseball. Who do you think sat Holland down and gave him the Crash Davis “Never mess with a winning streak” line? My guess is Michael Young. Derek Holland learned a valuable lesson about the longstanding tradition and ramifications of baseball superstitions. These five guys, on the contrary, never needed such lessons. They are being honored for their devotion to the sporting ‘stache, true sports mustache patriarchs. I give you the top five mustaches throughout sports history.
5. Mike Ditka
Ditka wore a fu manchu for a stint in his playing days, but later transitioned to a standard full mouth-wide authority ‘stache after his playing days. He hasn’t looked back since. His mustache remains synonymous with authority and dominance, and has become an adopted trademark of the city of Chicago. We all remember those old SNL skits with Chris Farley and Mike Meyers devoted to Ditka and his mustache. “Daaaaa Bears.”
4. Dennis Eckersley
American league hitters of the ‘80s and ‘90s shuddered at the site of this flawless mustache/flowing hair combo trotting out to the mound. It meant lights out. Having the misfortune of being at the business end of an Eckersley fastball was almost as terrifying as staring back at that hairy mess of man. His ‘stache was somewhere between a standard and a fu man, but it was always dark, full, and badass.
3. Lanny McDonald
Lanny wore the Walrus better than The Walrus wore the Walrus. His staunch commitment to absolutely zero maintenance or upkeep was inspiring to the young ‘stache growers of his era, and whispers of Lanny’s legend are still heard today. Just look at that beautiful son of a bitch, fire red and totally unkempt. Move over, Craig Stadler.
2. Goose Gossage
Goose Gossage’s mustache was, and still is, a Civil War throwback. Similar to Eckersley, the site of this mean, lengthy piece walking up to the bump was an intimidating scene. His pre-Reconstruction era mutton chops made the Goose a baseball icon. Guy had a hell of a career, and his mustache was along for its entirety.
1. Rollie Fingers
The handlebar mustache is an extreme rarity in itself. A handlebar on the playing field is non-existent. Rollie Fingers scoffed at the notion that it had no place in sports, and he pulled it off flawlessly. The handlebars even created a full 360 degree circle at times. It was as unique as it was impressive, and his career’s success was derived from it. For this, Rollie has earned the title of “Greatest Sports Mustache of All Time.”