Jun 19, 2013, 5:37 PM PDT
It’s Throwback Thursday, and on this week in 1972, the Oakland Athletics Mustache Gang was officially born.
There are conflicting reports as to how the trend started in the A’s clubhouse. The most accepted explanation is detailed in Bruce Markuson’s book A Baseball Dynasty. According to Markuson, it all started when Reggie Jackson showed up to spring training with a full mustache and claimed he’d grow a beard before Opening Day.
At the time, baseball was ultra conservative and being clean-shaven was one of the game’s unwritten rules.
So, A’s owner Charlie O. Finley instructed manager Dick Williams to tell Jackson to shave, and as the story goes, Jackson told Williams to shove it.
Attempting to use reverse psychology on the individualistic A’s star, Finley talked other players into growing mustaches thinking Jackson would get rid of his once he wasn’t the only one bucking the system.
It didn’t work.
Soon the mustaches became popular, and ever the opportunist, Finley decided to capitalize on the buzz from the fuzz by offering his players $300 if they grew a mustache by Father’s Day. Before salary arbitration and free agency, A’s players had to scratch and claw for every nickel and dime from the notoriously frugal A’s owner. Cash for a ‘stache was too good to pass up. Even Williams ended up growing one.
To this day, Jackson still maintains a mustache. As do Rollie Fingers, Joe Rudi, and Ray Fosse, who joined the team in 1973. What started as a trend on this week in 1972, became one of the hallmarks of an A’s dynasty. They defeated the Reds in the 1972 World Series in a battle dubbed by many as “The Hairs vs. The Squares,” and ended up winning it all again in 1973 and 1974.
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