Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Just a rookie


When I first started blogging, I consistently struggled for post ideas.

I'd spend hours digging through my collection, searching for anything that I thought was blog-worthy. Once I came up with an idea that I thought was passable, I'd immediately scan the cards and start writing.

Thankfully, that doesn't happen too often anymore.

In terms of post ideas, I go through "hot" and "cold" streaks like anyone else.

However, in recent months, I've started to list out any ideas I may have. I'd probably forget most of them by the next day if I didn't.

Some have been sitting on my "list" for a couple months. It's not that I don't think they're good ideas, though. I just haven't had the motivation to do anything with them.

Tonight's post is one of those "old" ideas I had a while back.

It'll be nice to finally cross it off my list.

During my time as a blogger, I've noticed that a lot of collectors like to focus on the ever-changing styles of hair amongst ballplayers. Hairstyles, mustaches, beards, the whole thing.

Since I received a much-needed haircut today, I figured now was a good a time as ever to get my thoughts out on this topic. 

If you go back and look in the annals of baseball cards, I'm sure you wouldn't find many rookies sporting outlandish hairstyles. 

No matter how highly-touted they might be, rookies aren't allowed to stray from the norm all that often.

Although it has nothing to do with hair, I can't help but think of the magnificent Crash Davis quite in Bull Durham whenever this kind of topic presents itself.

"You'll never make it to the bigs with fungus on your shower shoes. If you win 20 in the show, you can let the fungus grow back and the press will think you're colorful. Until you win 20 in the show, however, it means you're a slob."

Sorry, Mr. Lincecum. Even though you'll go on to win two Cy Young awards, even you can't show off that moptop haircut on your rookie card. 

After all, you're just a lowly rookie.

Early cards of Eric Gagne just don't look right to me.

Although his reign on the game of baseball was fairly brief, that "goatee-goggles" combo is apparently imprinted into my memory. 

Even though I've had this card in my collection for years, it still sticks out like a sore thumb amongst my other Gagnes.

That's the plight of being a rookie, I guess. Even the most famous facial hairstyles were suppressed at some point.

Which reminds me...

Believe it or not, there are some pictures Rollie Fingers without his handlebar mustache.

As far as facial hair goes, I don't think there's any denying that Fingers was the catalyst. Without him, I doubt we'd have seen Al Hrabosky's famous "Fu Manchu".

Or Goose Gossage's...whatever you call that thing.

Interestingly, the only reason Fingers grew the handlebar in the first place was to collect a bonus from Charlie Finley.

Eric Gagne may look odd without his beard, but I'd probably be able to recognize him either way.

It's not like that with Mr. Fingers. If you showed this picture to baseball fans, I'm sure a lot of them wouldn't know who it was.

Even Rollie Fingers was a rookie once.

Of course, I'm bound by law to mention Oscar Gamble in any post relating to hair.

During his early Phillies days, he looked like every other rookie. Clean-shaven, moderate hair, and no fungus on his shower shoes.

It took him a while to develop his now famous trademark...

The 'fro.

This might be its finest moment. Because SSPC isn't that well known around the card community, you don't see this one get much airplay.

In my opinion, though, it rivals his famous '76 Traded issue in terms of sheer Afro greatness.

Still, even Oscar Gamble had to tone it down a bit during his early years.

After all, rookies just aren't Afro-worthy.

Once they make a name for themselves, most ballplayers are free to do what they want.

Long hair, goggles, handlebar mustaches, the whole deal.

As far as the baseball community is concerned, they've earned it.

That's not to say that every ballplayer should grow facial hair.

If Ryne Sandberg is any indication, some 'staches should've never seen the light of day. Some people just don't look all that great with facial hair.

But at least they have the option.

After all, they're not rookies anymore.


Joe Average Card Collector said...

Wow, they all look so young without the face hair or the long hair. Lets not forget even Brian Wilson was a rookie too...before he grew his creepy pirate beard!

Ana Lu said...

Very good topic! Really, some players are soooo different from their RC that is spooky.

About Lincecum, before getting one RC of him I thought he always had long hair.