I don’t know if it was a league-wide thing or just the team that I followed, but I know it used to be that some major league baseball franchises had a ban on beards. I know that it was true at least of my favorite franchise, because I remember when they did away with it. Maybe it was a league rule and then it was passed to the teams, or whether it was just team-by-team and something that most teams did. I struggle to think of anyone from the 80’s or before who had a beard.

It sounds pretty ridiculous when you think about it. A beard? How offensive is a beard? Aren’t they taking it a little too far? That was kind of my thinking at the time. At east in part because I never like mustache’s and there were a lot of them around.

Flash forward a decade or two, though, and I think that either MLB or the teams had a point. I was watching the World Series. It happened to be on TV when the football game I was watching ended and it was a close game. Not having watched baseball in a while, I was really struck by how… ragged… the players look these days. They used to look like professionals or at least adults. Now they look like college drop-outs on weed. At least some of them look like the sort of person you would avoid while walking through the park. Few of them look like people you would necessarily trust to babysit your kid.

Some of this is, no doubt, a function of age. When you’re young, all old people look like adults. When you become an adult, well some look more adult than others, except you think of it in terms of “respectability” and whatnot, if you differentiate.

How did we get from here to there? I suppose there is an argument to be made that the rules were too strict for too long so that when they were finally allowed to “let loose” they did so in a conspicuous faction. Maybe it was gradual and for some reason nobody said “Look, a goatee is fine, but you do have to cut it every now and again.”

Or maybe it’s just a sign of the times. Things that were once rebel have become rather common – especially among athletes. Back in the day, rebels were often clean cut by today’s standards except for their hair and their clothes (clothes are, of course, the team uniforms and 80’s hair doesn’t work so well under a baseball cap, so they were clean-cut by default). And so athletes are a mirror of society in general. There are also ethnic considerations, though it’s worth pointing out that baseball has been integrated for a long time.

Whatever the case, it makes me feel old in a “get off my lawn” sort of way. Not that it’s the first time, since I look around at what constitutes “business attire” and roll my eyes.


Category: Downtown

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4 Responses to Bums On The Diamond

  1. Scarlet Knight says:

    I struggle to think of anyone from the 80’s or before who had a beard.

    Since their games were on a superstation, Gene Garber and Bruce Sutter of the Braves immediately come to mind.

    The Yankees still have a ban on beards. The Cincinnati Reds had one on ALL facial hair until recently. The major leagues had a de facto ban from the early days until Reggie Jackson.

    By the way, I have been enjoying your posts lately, but my responding time has been limited due to the upcoming elections.

  2. trumwill says:

    Huh. I used to watch the Braves, but don’t remember the beards.

    By the way, I have been enjoying your posts lately, but my responding time has been limited due to the upcoming elections.

    Happy to hear it! Just the other day I was thinking “Hmmm, if I’ve lost Hunt (my mind still hasn’t made the transition), I’ve really gotta step it up or consider hanging it up.”

    I hope to be stepping it up. I’ve just gotta figure out a way to get in a groove.

  3. Scarlet Knight says:

    Maybe its because BS and GG were relief pitchers, so you didn’t see them all that much.

    I’ve just gotta figure out a way to get in a groove.

    I like your current groove. My only observation is I think you are going to the Linkluster well a little too often for my personal taste.

  4. trumwill says:

    I think the issue with Linkluster is that it used to be a compliment (I’d have a daily post followed by a LL in the afternoon), but these days I am struggling to come up with five plus Linkluster, so they’ve become the daily post. Not ideal, but I hope to rebound soon.

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