The MLB All-Star Game is where baseball’s best shine on one stage. On the eve of the Midsummer Classic, while all 30 teams will be represented in Phoenix Arizona, there is one group that will be notably absent: the moustaches.
We may see the odd cookie duster at the All-Star Game, but I believe we need to give the men who’ve donned lip sweaters fair credit for representing the endangered moustachioed baseball population.
This is the 2011 edition of the Moustache All-Stars.
Travis Snider (Toronto Blue Jays)
The Blue Jays young slugger picked up a taste of moustachedom last season on “Thank You Cito” night, and during Spring Training, Snider decided to try on a real moustache for size.
Now Snider’s stache is back once again after escaping exile from Las Vegas, and his moustache is simultaneously creeping out and turning off women (and men) everywhere.
John Axford (Milwaukee Brewers)
His birthplace may be the true north strong and free, but the origins of John Axford’s moustache lie somewhere between moustawesome and moustastic.
Axford also appeared on last year’s Best Staches of the First Half, which ordinarily would make him ineligible, but his chameleon-like to don a different version of the moustache gives him high praise in my book.
And the combination of the moustache, hair and the Brewers jersey here just screams old school.
Brendan Ryan (Seattle Mariners)
Like John Axford before him, Brendan Ryan is making his second consecutive appearance on the Best Staches of the First Half.
Last year it was for his old-timey barbershop quartet moustache, and this time around he’s being honoured for his handlebar incarnation. Combined with the old school Mariners jersey, Ryan is a very formidable foe on the field.
Barry Zito (San Francisco Giants)
There are some baseball players on which a moustache obviously does not work. For some reason with Barry Zito, it just happens to fit perfectly.
Zito recently returned from the DL sans moustache, and I think it would be in his best interest to bring the stache back if he wants to enjoy that early-season success.
Collin Balester (Washington Nationals)
According to the ever-accurate Wikipedia, approximate 1-2% of the world’s population are redheads. That’s what makes Collin Balester’s moustache of the rarest kind, as he falls into the very scarce group known as the “ginger staches”.
Word on the street is ginger ‘staches are worth nearly ten times the amount of your typical black, blonde or brunette moustache.
Sam LeCure (Cincinnati Reds)
As part of the relief corp in Cincinnati, Sam LeCure has adorned a moustache since the inception of Reds Spring Training. It must be working as he has one of the lowest ERA’s in the Reds bullpen.
Combined with the optional soul patch, it’s a duo that I’m sure any major league manager would love to have in their bullpen.
Phil Coke (Detroit Tigers)
Having just recently been demoted from the Tigers starting rotation to the bullpen, perhaps Phil Coke can find new life as a reliever. I can only imagine the demotion happened because Jim Leyland was jealous of Coke’s ginger ‘stache.
Oddly enough, Phil Coke seems to be taking after another former highly regarded moustache clad reliever from the Tigers, Todd Jones.
Eric Wedge (Seattle Mariners)
Typically the Moustache All-Stars are only reserved for players, but this year I’m more than willing to make an exception for Eric Wedge’s epic moustache.
What began in the off-season as your typical ‘stache has grown into what can only be described as something that would belong to the a head gang member of the Hell’s Angels.
And any man who can manage to keep the Seattle Mariners out of the American League West must be doing to via the power of the moustache.
Honourable mention: Eric Thames (Toronto Blue Jays)
While not technically a moustache, the Blue Jays Eric Thames gets high marks for his facial hair creativity. He can currently be seen rocking the Shaft sideburns, but this bearded masterpiece is probably his finest work so far.