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Tuesday, January 11, 2022

The Yankees need to end their outdated facial hair policy

Could the Yankees successfully defend keeping their policy? They certainly would have a case. Teams are permitted to have reasonable team rules, and the Yankees have adhered to these grooming ground rules since George Steinbrenner established them shortly after purchasing the team in 1973. Past practices and precedent matter and so, perhaps, an arbitrator would accept that a baseball organization has the right to control the hair length of an adult under their employ. But is this a case the Yankees want to risk? I am shocked they have not been challenged on this yet. And in this age, doesn’t it now feel like the crisis you can see heading toward town, so if you can avoid it, why not?

It is one thing for a free agent to sign with the Yankees, know the policy and agree to accept it. But what of drafted players and, especially, what of a traded player who is part of the Players Association? Would the Yankees void a deal if the baseball equivalent of James Harden, someone like San Diego’s Fernando Tatis Jr. or Toronto’s Vladimir Guerrero Jr., refused a request to trim their hair and shave? They wouldn’t improve their roster over this policy? Today we could have had Bryce Harper, but he wouldn’t shave, so we refused to take him.

Would they really want to be seen as an organization that would go to a grievance against a player over hair – facial or long? A player such as Guerrero has no control if his current team trades him. Should he really have no control over his face? Is this something the Yankees really want to defend in 2022?

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: January 11, 2022 at 05:26 PM | 23 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: sideburns, yankees

Reader Comments and Retorts

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   1. gef the talking mongoose, peppery hostile Posted: January 11, 2022 at 10:02 PM (#6060717)
Of all the unlikable things about the Yankees, this is certainly one of them.
   2. Walt Davis Posted: January 11, 2022 at 10:17 PM (#6060722)
Just curious ... do they have a no visible tattoos policy?

As to the question -- it would be silly for the Yankees to fight for it, it would be silly for any player to get worked up enough to fight against it. If the Yanks want to pay me $30 M a year while requiring me to remain kempt, I'd be OK with that.
   3. Howie Menckel Posted: January 11, 2022 at 10:41 PM (#6060726)
1999 AP story about the Reds finally rescinding this policy:

"Schott is a sucker for kids. And so what sealed the deal was a plea from Greg Vaughn, acquired in a Feb. 2 trade from San Diego.

"I have two kids who have never seen their daddy without a goatee," the slugger said. `"They wouldn't recognize me."

More to the point, even Schott had to recognize what was behind the facial hair - 50 home runs, 119 RBIs and a .272 average - numbers that were impossible to ignore for a proud franchise mired in a slump.

While only two players ever used beards to force a trade - Bobby Tolan in 1973 and Jim Kern nearly 10 years later - nobody knows how many others wound up elsewhere for lack of a razor.

But there were plenty of stories.

"I've even talked to some who said that's the only reason they wouldn't want to play for the Reds," said right fielder Dmitri Young, who showed up at spring training with a mustache and beard. "Of course, I didn't think it was right for me to say anything. I don't exactly have the same pull as Greg Vaughn."


story also includes an all-time favorite quote of mine, from my backup catcher on my first Rotisserie League team in 1984: "In Cincinnati," catcher Dann Bilardello said during the good old days, "we were lucky to have eyebrows."

[speaking of 'not recognizing' and facial hair. when one of my sisters got married about 35 years ago, one of my brothers gave a reading during the ceremony. well, said brother had shaved his beard for the time in a good 15 years. as it happens, mom and son didn't see each other before the ceremony. he walks up to do his reading, and mom asks me, "Who's that?" and I assure you that she was very much of sound mind and body at the time.]

[bonus tangent: it was agreed that after the ceremony, all members of the wedding party and close family - a lot of people - would "meet in the park" for photos. bride and groom are whisked away in a limo, and the rest of us all ask, "which park?" no cell phones, no pagers, no chance. everybody just had to give up, and we took the photos at the reception hall.]
   4. Tin Angel Posted: January 11, 2022 at 10:52 PM (#6060728)
Good for the Yankees. Let the Red Sox load up on all the beatniks and hippies.
   5. The Yankee Clapper Posted: January 11, 2022 at 11:07 PM (#6060729)
The article seems to be making a mountain out of a molehill. I don’t recall any player who was actually more devoted to his facial hair than the opportunity to play for the Yankees.
   6. winnipegwhip Posted: January 11, 2022 at 11:13 PM (#6060730)
After reading all I can say is "Writers block is a #####."
   7. Snowboy Posted: January 12, 2022 at 12:20 AM (#6060739)
Mr. Burns: "Mattingly, I thought I told you to trim those sideburns! Go home, you're off the team, for good!"
   8. MuttsIdolCochrane Posted: January 12, 2022 at 04:40 AM (#6060742)
All we need is one (decent would help) player to say, listen, it's a symbol for my heritage (or religion or race). What can the team say to that?
   9. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: January 12, 2022 at 06:26 AM (#6060744)
After reading all I can say is "Writers block is a #####."

We really need this lockout to end.
   10. Jose Has Absurd Goosebump Arms Posted: January 12, 2022 at 08:10 AM (#6060747)
I kind of like the fact that I don't like the policy. It's part of the Yankees' identity. It's like the Cardinals stupid bullpen warmup/YMCA routine or the Red Sox winning a World Series every few years. It's one of those things that really just does not ####### matter and as noted by Yankee Clapper no one has ever said it was a problem. I mean if Johnny Damon can get a trim, anyone can.

When my best friend got married (the first time*) one of the big arguments was his mother in law to be INSISTING he shave for the ceremony. Neither bride nor groom wanted a clean shaven person on the altar but the MIL was relentless. She lost in the end though.

* My friend is now on wife two. When he wants to annoy her he refers to her as "his favorite wife so far." Couldn't imagine why she gets upset at that.
   11. Slivers of Maranville descends into chaos (SdeB) Posted: January 12, 2022 at 08:54 AM (#6060750)
I think we can all agree with Jose that it really isn't a big deal what the Yankees do so long as they lose in the end.
   12. Adam Starblind Posted: January 12, 2022 at 09:37 AM (#6060755)
I think this is right, and not just because some players want to look like Old Dirty Bastard.

If we want young people to be interested in baseball, and we want stars they're interested in, it doesn't make sense to have them all look like corporate drones. If Aaron Judge wanted to wear a fu manchu down to his sternum with a blue-streaked ponytail that covers half his number, maybe he'd get more of that kind of attention.*

*I have no idea what kids think is cool.
   13. DL from MN Posted: January 12, 2022 at 12:31 PM (#6060788)
I think it would be better if the Yankees had an "outdated facial hair" policy. Like, the policy was that out of style facial hair was required. Everyone has to look like Tom Selleck.
   14. Gazizza, my Dilznoofuses! Posted: January 12, 2022 at 12:45 PM (#6060792)
I'd swear I remember Rollie Fingers retiring rather than sign with the Reds and shave his moustache.

EDIT: Found an article that supports my memory.

Is there a reason that the Yankees' facial hair policy (and by extension related policies at other clubs) isn't covered by collective bargaining?
   15. The Gary DiSarcina Fan Club (JAHV) Posted: January 12, 2022 at 02:36 PM (#6060810)
Like, the policy was that out of style facial hair was required. Everyone has to look like Tom Selleck.

This doesn't go nearly far enough. Much better if everyone has to look like Wyatt Earp or Chester A Arthur.
   16. Ron J Posted: January 12, 2022 at 02:59 PM (#6060819)
Ambrose Burnside -- down to the uniform.
   17. Perry Posted: January 12, 2022 at 03:39 PM (#6060825)
1970 is calling, they want their controversy back.
   18. Zach Posted: January 12, 2022 at 04:32 PM (#6060829)
it doesn't make sense to have them all look like corporate drones.

Counterpoint: Yankees.
   19. gef the talking mongoose, peppery hostile Posted: January 13, 2022 at 10:54 AM (#6060920)
Randy Johnson was the real test case here, I suppose. His was a face that needed to be covered up as much as possible for the mental safety of anyone with even partially functioning eyes.
   20. pikepredator Posted: January 13, 2022 at 10:58 AM (#6060921)
Like, the policy was that out of style facial hair was required. Everyone has to look like Tom Selleck.

I have bad news for you about the currently trending facial hair styles . . .
   21. Adam Starblind Posted: January 13, 2022 at 02:30 PM (#6060965)
The ironic mustache is trending non-ironic. And ironically, this stylish accessory is the only facial hair permitted on the corporate Yankees (irony or no) or, not coincidentally, on Willie Randolph's Mets.

it doesn't make sense to have them all look like corporate drones.

Counterpoint: Yankees.

Are they doing any better than any other team at attracting young fans to the game?
   22. Zach Posted: January 13, 2022 at 06:59 PM (#6060994)
Are they doing any better than any other team at attracting young fans to the game?

I was taking a cheap shot at the Yankees being the team of corporate drones. "Rooting for US Steel", etc.
   23. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: January 14, 2022 at 09:11 AM (#6061035)
Personally I like the idea that one team doesn't want to go along. I liked the 70's A's for the same reason. It gives them a distinctive character.



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