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Happy birthday to Rollie Fingers, who chose retirement over shaving his mustache

Rollie Fingers was an oustanding player. He was a pioneer of modern relief pitching, won the 1981 AL Cy Young Award and MVP, is one of only 11 players to have his number retired by more than one team (Athletics and Brewers) and is a member of the Hall of Fame.

His playing career speaks for itself -- but then again, so does his famous handlebar mustache. He first grew it in 1972 at the behest of A's owner/showman Charlie Finley, and still maintains it to this day, as you can see from this photo from this year's All-Star Game:


In 1986, Fingers was at the end of his career and was offered a contract to play for the Reds, who at the time had a strict no-facial hair policy. Reds GM Bill Bergesch made it clear that no exception would be made, even for the most famous mustache in baseball. Fingers' response?

''The mustache is my trademark, and it has been for 15 years. I am not about to shave it off just to play baseball.''

Thank you, Rollie Fingers: for your Hall of Fame career, and for fighting the good facial hair fight.