On Friday the Oakland A’s began a two-day celebration of the team’s first World Series championship back in 1972. Former closer Rollie Fingers was on hand and, as you would expect, his famous handlebar mustache was a topic of conversation.
The Hall of Famer claimed that in spring training of 1972, then-A’s owner Charlie Finley offered $300 to any player who grew a mustache to start the season. Fingers took Finley up on it, as did many other teammates. All-in-all the owner shelled out 30 $300 checks to players, four coaches and manager Dick Williams on opening day.
Forty years later and Fingers’ signature, Captain Hook-like mustache is still going strong.
The 65-year-old Fingers gave the following reason for going with the handlebar look as opposed to a normal ‘stache:
“Just being different. Everyone was growing a mustache. I said, ‘What the heck, I’ll do a handlebar.’ It was probably stupid, but then we win the World Series in ’72, and then you win in ’73 and then you win in ’74, it’s kind of tough to shave it off after that. That’s why I kept it.”
Yes, the impetus for the A’s three-straight world championships may have been that mustache wager Finley offered his players and coaches.
Fingers claims he almost shaved it once. After losing both games of a doubleheader at Minnesota on Sept. 11, 1972 he had a razor out, ready to rid himself of his signature look. He decided against it:
“I said, ‘Nah, I better not, I’m afraid what I’ll look like without it. I didn’t cut it off.”
And he still hasn’t.
A $300 offer from Oakland’s owner has led to 40 years of lip fuzz and baseball’s most famous ‘stache is still going strong.