Historically, the Royals have been a rather clean cut bunch of guys. Occasionally, a renegade emerges from the clubhouse to challenge authority. Tweaking management. Daring them to rein in the unruly. How have people been sticking it to the man?
Facial hair. And crazy haircuts.
Find out where I'm going, after the jump...
In wrapping up the first week of the merger, I present a fluffy Friday post... And my first poll.
Sadly, whenever a Royal chose to thumb their nose at management with aggressive facial hair or an unruly haircut, their performance took a turn for the worse. At question today, who in Royal history sacrificed good grooming and personal hygiene at the cost of performance? Style over substance. Sadly, our team has been a conservative bunch since inception. We don't have a Bake McBride, a Garry Maddox or even a Scott Spezio in our history. Still, there have been some moments. Barely.
Kurt Bevauqua's mustache
Bevacqua’s ‘stache is less facial hair and more obtuse angle. It’s 120 degrees of excellence. He hit .257/.317/.330 for the Royals in 1973. That winter, they dealt the utility mustache to Pittsburgh along with Ed Kirkpatrick, receiving Nelson Briles and Fernando Gonzalez in return. Kansas City wasn’t the same without Bevacqua’s mustache and he made his way back to Kansas City in a trade for minor leaguer Cal Meier in July of ’74. Bevacqua hit just .211/.290/.211 in 100 plate appearances in his second stint as a Royal. Yep, no extra base hits. No mustache is worth that kind of aggravation. Just ask Tommy Lasorda.
Amos Otis' Sideburns
A.O. was famously surly in his time in Kansas City. He didn't talk to the media, shunned management and barely acknowledged teammates. Talk to former Royals from the glory days and ask why Otis hasn't been around and you'll get a stock, "That's A.O being A.O." reply. Otis thumbed his nose at authority in the '77 season and paid the price with one of his worst seasons as a Royal. Coincidence? Probably not. It only encouraged Otis to add an amazing mustache in later years. Thankfully, his performance recovered.
Steve Balboni's Porn-satche
What's worse... That this mustache was ever acceptable, or the fact he actually grew this on his upper lip? He famously hit 36 home runs for the Royals in 1985. Still a franchise record. He hit every single home run as a Royal with that mustache. Technically, his mustache didn't affect his power. But still...
Luis Mendoza's Mullet
Photo Credit: Jason O. Watson-US PRESSWIRE
I’m thinking the Mendoza Mullet creates a drag in his delivery what keeps his fastball velocity down in the lower 90s and makes him pitch to contact. Pitching is all about the legs, but how are you supposed to generate the power when you’ve got that trailing out the back of your cap. He may as well attach a parachute to his back.
Al Fitzmorris Mustache/Mullet combo
Fitz was about as crazy as a Royal could get in the 1970's. He did it with a considerable amount of flair, going for both the mustache and the mullet. Fitzmorris was one of the better Royal starter in the mid-70s, but management didn't care for his don't-give-a-crap style. Back then, what did you do with players who were so difficult to handle? You left them open in the expansion draft. Selected by the Toronto Blue Jays, they didn't want anything to do with Fitz in Canada where his progressive look surely violated Canadian law. They exiled him to baseball's mid '70s version of Siberia... Cleveland.
Hal McRae's... Whatever that is
McRae looks happy in this baseball card. Maybe it's because he invented a completely new way to wear a sideburns/fu manchu/mustache combo. This card is from the 1976, the same year McRae lost the batting title in controversial fashion to George Brett on the final day of the season. Brett lobbed a double into right field in his final at bat of the season and finished at .333 to McRae's .332. McRae claimed the Twins allowed Brett's final hit to land and that racism played a role in the outcome.
More likely it was whatever he was wearing on his face.