Monday, June 10, 2013

The Bearded Boston Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox have always been pretty lax when it comes to the physical appearances of their players. Until this season, there was no dress code for players on road trips (Terry Francona apparently just requested that they dress at least as well as he did, and Bobby V. kept expectations pretty much the same). John Farrell has changed that, as he has now required that his players wear a suit jacket when traveling, though ties are apparently optional.

But anything beyond that is up to the players discretion. The Yankees are [in]famous for never allowing facial hair below the mouth on their players, and no haircuts longer than the ears - a curious distinction that prevented Johnny Damon from manning the outfield resembling Jesus, but allowed Jason Giambi to parade around for years sporting a mustache that made him look like a '70s porn star.

The Red Sox have no such rules about hair length or personal grooming, and we've seen some interesting personal style over the last decade, from the aforementioned Damon, to the flowing deadlocks of Manny Ramirez, to the famous goatee (and one-time fu manchu) sported by Kevin Youkilis. Overall, players have been somewhat scruffy much of the time, but this season has included many more full beards than I remember seeing.

These styles include what I like to call the sometimes- or sparsely-bearded, pictured below:
Left to right, top row first: Pedro Ciriaco, Franklin Morales, Felix Doubront, Koji Uehara, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Junichi Tazawa, Shane Victorino, and John Lackey.

Of course, the semi-beardedness of some of these men might have more to do with sheer laziness than any actual attempt at maintaining facial hair. We see some of them clean-shaven at times, scruffy at others, and sometimes even with groomed goatees.

I think my personal favorite among the barely-there-beard coalition is Clayton Mortensen:
The tiny spot just underneath his mouth is often slightly off-center, but it's obvious that it takes significant maintenance to stay baby smooth and scruff free outside that one square inch. The style is too small to be a goatee, but I just can't use the phrase "soul patch" and Clayton Mortensen in the same sentence without giggling.

But the best of all belong to those who have allowed their facial hair to become a full fledged bushy beard. 
Left to right, top row first: Andrew Miller, Jonny Gomes, David Ross, Mike Napoli, Dustin Pedroia, Mike Carp, Ryan Dempster, and David Ortiz.

Napoli and Ortiz almost don't qualify, as they keep their beards so short, but one look at the precise shaping will tell you that these are men who take pride in their facial hair. Miller has even toned down his look from the beginning of the season, for a few weeks he looked positively wild. Miller, Gomes, Ross, Pedroia, Carp, and Dempster all sport what I like to refer to as "lumberjack beards."

Perhaps another time I'll go through the roster and compare the stats of the many bearded players to the few baby-faced ones, but for now this post was just for fun. It's much more entertaining when each player manages to showcase a personal look on the field, despite the fact that they all must dress alike. I'll take the style and personality of these Red Sox over the stuffiness and uniformity of the Yankees any day of the week.


  1. Did you see the NESN video of the Sox boarding the bus for Tampa, all dressed up, supporting the BRUINS? Wished I knew how to put that on tumblr....they looked awesome. When will John Farrell sport the beard?

  2. Lol.. Great Post. I was having a discussion about this very topic. The discussion was What's up with all the beards on the Red Sox? We would love to here your input.