Stubble's trouble for the Marlins

By Joe Capozzi
Palm Beach Post Staff Writer
Friday, January 27, 2006
JUPITER Here's a warning for the many young Marlins prospects preparing to report for spring training.

Pack a razor.

Manager Joe Girardi, taking a page from George Steinbrenner's grooming manual, has issued a no facial hair policy for his players. For the first time in franchise history, the Marlins will be cleanshaven.

Girardi figures the rule won't be an issue with this team.

"With our guys, it shouldn't a problem,'' he said, adding with a laugh: "They're probably too young to shave anyway.''

Girardi didn't wear facial hair as a player, so he had no problem with Steinbrenner's long-standing rule that allowed neatly trimmed mustaches but no beards and shaggy hair.

"To me, the idea is to look professional,'' Girardi said Thursday. "I understand it's important for players to have their own style, and I don't have a problem with that. But I want players to look neat and clean.''
With seven key veterans traded in the off-season and others gone through free agency, the Marlins figure to have plenty of fresh-faced players showing up when pitchers and catchers report Feb. 18 to Roger Dean Stadium.

It might be a good thing the Marlins made a clean cut with some of their stars. Ace Josh Beckett favors a scraggly beard, third baseman Mike Lowell wears a goatee and reliever Todd Jones has a bushy mustache.

The holdovers aren't as hairy. Pitcher Dontrelle Willis had a wisp of hair on his chin during a workout last week at Roger Dean and catcher Matt Treanor's neat mustache is not compliant but says he wouldn't have a problem facing a razor.

"Hey, I figure I'll enjoy it while I can,'' Treanor said of his mustache. "I'm all right with (the policy). It's not too much to get up in the morning and shave.''

Unless you're Perry Hill, the Marlins' first-base coach who has worn a mustache or beard since he graduated from high school in 1970.
More than a century ago, baseball players were famous for their handlebar mustaches. But no players wore facial hair from 1918 to 1971, according to authors Neil McCabe and Constance McCabe in the award-winning book, Baseball's Golden Age.

Reggie Jackson was among several Yankees whose beard came up in contract negotiations in the 1970s. Also in the 1970s, Rollie Fingers, Joe Rudi and the Oakland A's ushered in the facial-hair era with the blessing of owner Charley Finley. The Cincinnati Reds were a longtime holdout, until 1999 when owner Marge Schott scrapped the team's 32-year-old rule against facial hair at the request of slugger Greg Vaughn.

But Girardi believes stubble means trouble.

"I appreciate peoples' styles and how they want to be different, but I really believe if you look professional, you play more professional,'' he said.