By Chris Colton
Sports Editor, CBSNewYork.com
NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Come Thursday afternoon, Keith Hernandez’s famous mustache will be no longer.
Apparently he’s tired of the growing-gray look and spied an opportunity to give back to the community. That’s all perfectly understandable and commendable.
But let me just say this: my old man had a storied mustache. That is, until one horrible day. He went to town on it; I was really young and fully unprepared for a bare-lipped dad. I locked myself in a room and refused to come out.
So I understand your pain, Mets fans.
In honor of the last full day in the life of Keith’s mustache, what follows is a definitively unofficial list of the top 10 mustaches in baseball history:
10. George Foster
Perhaps the most despised player of the Frank Cashen era, there’s no hating on Foster’s epic look. Aviator sunglasses and a classic stache? This guy knew cool. He just didn’t know how to make it in Gotham.
9. Sal Fasano
Journeyman. Everyman. Uncle Sal takes a hit for taming his lucky horseshoe while with the Yankees. Lucky for us it was just a one-year stint in an otherwise Hall of Fuzz-worthy career.
8. Bill Buckner
Cheer up, Billy. “Little roller up along first…” You can forget about the ghosts of 1986. “Behind the bag…” You’ve made our list! “It gets through Buckner!” I like to call this one the Tappan Zee — notice how BB’s top lip is suspended by the force of his stache. “Here comes Knight, and the Mets win it!”
7. Reggie Jackson
I’d show you a better image of Reggie’s proud lip, but here’s a terrific example of a mustache lifting Ruben Rivera (with an assist from the arms). Jackson may still ignite controversy, but there should be no debate: in his heyday, when he was done launching playoff homers, Reggie was Mr. Movember.
6. Steve Somers/Joe Benigno
WFAN radio legends united by the common curse of Mets fandom, keeping the mid-’80s glory days alive through their stachewear.
5. Goose Gossage
Gossage waited years to get the call from Cooperstown. No such trouble here. Blown saves don’t count, just follicles, and Goose gets in on the first try.
4. John Axford
Is there anything this guy can’t do? Brilliant and maddening on the hill, maybe the Brewers closer should just stick to the style that works best.
3. Rollie Fingers
I’ve seen the other lists: Rollie Mustache is the overwhelming choice for No. 1. It says here that his waxy throwback is just a novelty. An evil looking one at that. But you have to love a guy who looks great while falling on his head.
2. Don Mattingly
Is there any doubt Donnie Baseball would have rocked a pre-Johnny-Damon caveman beard had it not been for George Steinbrenner? His rule-stretching growth says it all. Was the Hit Man the best first baseman in New York? That’s debatable. But on this field, the Most Valuable Mustache goes to…
Look at it.
Take it in.
Keith Hernandez’s heroic, award-winning mustache looks painted on. More so than his eye-black. And this was BEFORE Just For Men. We’ll miss you, Keith’s stache. Come and visit again.
Thanks for trying: Bobby Valentine
This cat approves, but there’s no room for trickery here. Baseball fans remember when Bobby V tried to coach from the bench in disguise. Valentine had to put on a fake mustache; Hernandez would have sprouted one right then and there.
Baseball history is full of awesome mustaches — so who should’ve made the cut? Be heard in the comments below!