Baseball always has been and always will be an American institution. There is nothing that can match the atmosphere of a baseball game. While the rules of the game are essentially the same as they were in the late 1800’s, the sport has made a quantum leap in facial hair, more importantly the beard. This positive progression makes up for the facial hair failures of the 1970’s and 1980’s (that are preserved in time on old baseball cards).
“Well, Buhner was a good prospect, no question about it. But my baseball people loved Ken Phelps’ bat. They kept saying ‘Ken Phelps , Ken Phelps’.”
—George Steinbrenner on Seinfeld
While these aren’t the only beards in Major League Baseball, these are the beards that have best caught my attention. Feel free to agree, disagree or tell me your vote for best beard in baseball on Twitter through @bandholz
Without further ado, here is Urban Beardsman’s list of the top 20 beards in the game today:
1. Mike Napoli
Boston Red Sox first baseman and Beardbrand user Mike Napoli arguably has the longest tenured and best active beard in the game today.
2. Dallas Keuchel
Dallas Keuchel’s beard combines amazing fullness with expert shaping.
3. Jayson Werth
This is either a character from the next Rob Zombie movie or Washington Nationals Jayson Werth. Seriously though, it takes major skill to rock a beard of this magnitude.
4. Derek Norris
San Diego’s Derek Norris has been one of MLB’s leading beardsmen over the last few years.
5. Jason Heyward
St. Louis Cardinals Jason Heyward is not only (arguably) the best defensive outfielder in the game, but has one of the cleanest beards. On a personal note, it still hurts to not see him in an Atlanta Braves jersey.
6. Andrew Cashner
San Diego Padres RHP Andrew Cashner deals on the mound as well as with the razor to keep those beard lines sharp.
7. Jonny Gomes
Atlanta Braves OF Jonny Gomes has won the title of ‘Best Beard and Tattoo Combination’ for six Major League franchises.
8. Brian Schlitter
Chicago Cubs RHP Brian Schlitter. Shhh. Just look at it. There are no words. If you ask me, I bet he is staring at bald eagles.
9. Daniel Norris
Detroit Tigers LHP, formerly of the Toronto Blue Jays, and off-season beard sensation Daniel Norris. This guy’s beard is so good that he makes the list despite not even keeping it during the season.
10. Evan Gattis
Since his debut in 2013, Houston Astros slugger and fan favorite, Evan Gattis, has had one of the best beards. With a nickname like ‘El Oso Blanco’ aka ‘The White Bear’, you know he has the ability to remain on this list throughout his career.
11. Bryce Harper
Immense talent on the field and covering his face, Washington Nationals OF and All-Star Bryce Harper is primed to be the ultimate beardsman of MLB for the next generation.
12. Ian Kennedy
RHP Ian Kennedy is one of three San Diego Padres on this list. With such a great beard in an excellent shade of red, I feel like he and Eric Bandholz need to meet.
13. Kelvin Herrera
Kansas City Royals flame throwing, All-Star relief pitcher Kelvin Herrera. His talent on the mound can only be upstaged by his ability to grow an amazing beard minus mustache look.
14. Pedro Alvarez
Pirates slugger Pedro Alvarez provides power in the lineup and power in his beard game. Alvarez also has quite the reputation for being a sneakerhead.
15. John Axford
Colorado Rockies relief pitcher John Axford has proven the ability to strike out the side, grow a great beard and even display a wonderful mustache.
16. Matt Shoemaker
Los Angeles Angels of (for marketing purposes) Anaheim RHP Matt Shoemaker. A combination of fullness and dark color make him appear twice as menacing on the mound.
17. Madison Bumgarner
San Francisco Giants ace, World Series MVP and All-Star Madison Bumgarner. While it would not be fair to compare his beard to his pitching talent, we are still impressed.
18. Hunter Pence
Yes. This is my list and I am including San Francisco Giants OF Hunter Pence. Despite the crazed look in his eyes, nobody in the game today can pull off the curly hair/full beard combination like him.
19. Jason Grilli
No, this is not a picture of Gerard Butler playing baseball. Instead, this is a picture of Atlanta Braves closer Jason Grilli. With his fastball, nickname ‘Grill Cheese’, and that beard, he had to be on this list.
20. Danny Espinosa
There must be something in the water in our nation’s capitol. Washington Nationals utility man Danny Espinosa. While he doesn’t necessarily have a beard, he does have a mustache that aspired to be more and has began to take over his face.
21. Bonus: Brian Wilson
And although he is not currently with a Major League franchise, no beard list could be complete without the beardsman legend known as Brian Wilson.