It’s November which means many men will grow a moustache in support of men’s health. Movember as it’s called is a great way to raise awareness for men’s health such as prostate cancer research, testicular cancer research, mental health and suicide prevention. You can learn more about it here.
In the world of sports, moustaches have come and gone in trendiness. In the 1950s and 1960s, facial hair of any sort was quite rare. That changed in the 1970s when individuality was less frowned upon. The moustache remains prominent today so let’s have some fun. The 50 best moustaches in sports. Before we start, some ground rules. Players only. No coaches, executives or owners allowed. I decided to exclude soccer from this list. Finally, this will only be from the big four sports in North America. (Hockey, Football, Baseball, Basketball.) There’s no particular order so rank them as you please.
Let’s cut to the chase right away and bestow the honour of best moustache of all time to this legendary hockey hall of famer. There is no doubt that this is a beauty of a lip sweater. It looks even better while he’s sporting those vintage Colorado Rockies duds. Everything about this is perfect. It also helps that McDonald was a damn good hockey player that scored some big goals for the other two teams he played for, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Calgary Flames.
Here’s his biggest goal during his tenure with the Leafs versus the New York Islanders in 1978.
And finally, this goal while he was in Calgary against Montreal in the 1989 Stanley Cup Final.
The handlebar moustache is difficult to grow but the former Oakland A’s and Milwaukee Brewers closer grew it to perfection. Fingers looks like one of those old silent film villains that would tie up the damsel in distress to the train tracks. But what Fingers did best was fan the fires in the late innings to preserve victories. His 341 saves was the MLB record until 1992 when Jeff Reardon and Lee Smith overtook him. In fact, Fingers was the first pitcher to reach 300 career saves. He was the World Series MVP in 1974. He won the AL Cy Young and MVP awards in 1981. If he wasn’t injured in 1982, the Brewers may have won the World Series. But his finest singular moment happened in the 1972 Fall Classic in which he appeared he was going to give the great Johnny Bench an intentional pass. Instead Fingers put the swerve on Bench and struck him out with a devastating slider. The moustache was magical.
That fro. That stache. Doctor J was all that. He could have easily been a member of Funkadelic with that look but the Doc was performing surgery on the basketball court in spectacular fashion. He was the signature figure in the fledging ABA until it merged with the NBA in 1976. Erving joined the Philadelphia 76ers and became legendary with his aerial feats that wowed fans and inspired future legend such as Michael Jordan and Dominique Wilkins.
Erving finally won an NBA title in 1983 and provided more feats of flying fascination than Tom Cruise in Top Gun.
One of the scariest human beings to ever step foot on a football field. Look at him. You want to mess with the man they called “The Assassin?” Tatum was the meanest of the Oakland Raiders in the 1970s and that’s saying something. His black bristle batons just added to the menacing scowl which would frighten opposing receivers. His crushing hit on Vikings receiver Sammy White in Super Bowl XI would be penalized today but the 1970s were a different time and Tatum and the Raiders were a different breed.
The fu manchu was made famous by the late great actor Christopher Lee in his portrayal of the devilish, titular doctor in five films in the 1960s. Also known as the porn stache because adult film actors wore it (and nothing else) as a style choice in naughty movies in the 1970s. In sports, no one wore the fu better than Dennis Maruk, a high-scoring winger for the Washington Capitals, the Minnesota North Stars (RIP) and the dearly departed Cleveland Barons in the 1970s and 1980s.
Maruk lit the lamp 60 times in the 1981-82 season and scored 356 goals in his career. Sadly, Maruk shaved off his horseshoe handlebar after he retired.
Is Davey Lopes trying to be Cheech Marin’s replacement in a Cheech & Chong reunion? Who knows but the longtime Dodgers second baseman had a wonderful pushbroom during his playing days. It also helped that Lopes was a fine player in his own right. A four-time all-star who led the majors in stolen bases in 1975 and 1976 and a three-time Gold Glove recipient. His finest day was Game 1 of the 1978 World Series in which he swatted two home runs.
Arguably, the meanest and dirtiest player to ever play in the NFL. Don’t believe me? Check out this Sports Illustrated cover circa 1977.
There may have been no one who was as nasty and mean as Dobler. His marvellous mouth mirken just added to the personality.
This longtime NBAer was a pivotal piece on the Bad Boy Detroit Pistons teams that won back-to-back championships in 1989 and 1990. He wasn’t the flashiest players, nor was he the baddest boy on the Pistons, (on the contrary, he was quite tame) Edwards did have something the Bad Boys didn’t, a spectacular soup strainer.
Sadly, Beck is no longer with us as he passed away in 2007 at the age of 38. But he won’t be forgotten by fans of the San Francisco Giants, Chicago Cubs, Boston Red Sox and San Diego Padres. He was the Rolaids Relief Man of the Year in 1994 and the NL Comeback Player of the Year in 2003. But Beck and his fantastic face furniture will be remembered by all baseball fans.
Considered too small by some, the pugnacious native of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan managed to carve out a 15 year pro career between the WHA (RIP) and the NHL. Ruskowski didn’t let his small stature deter him as he went toe-to-toe with the league’s heavyweights. An added bonus, that cookie duster Ruskowski sported is an underrated gem.
Jerry Seinfeld’s boyfriend. That’s how most remember the first baseman with the upper facial fur. But Hernandez was a great player for the St. Louis Cardinals and New York Mets, winning World Series championships for both franchises. But he always be the one that got away for Jerry and company.
The greatest look in the history of sports. I mean look at this! The fro. The stache. Oscar Gamble was the man. His career spanned 16 seasons with 7 different teams but his flamboyance and flair were trademarks of Gamble. Liked by sportswriters for being an engaging and entertaining quote, Gamble was one of baseball’s great characters. He sadly passed away in 2018 at the age of 68.
Jack “Hacksaw” Reynolds
The San Francisco 49ers weren’t known for their toughness in the 1980s but the man known as Hacksaw was the exception. The middle linebacker brought a grittiness and snarl to a Niners team loaded with skill. Reynolds finest day may have been Super Bowl XVI leading a goal line stand against the Cincinnati Bengals. His luscious lip sweater just added to the image.
You could add many members of the Broad Street Bullies to this list. The Philadelphia Flyers of the 1970s were an unkempt, surly and villainous and they loved every minute of it. Kindrachuk is chosen for his flavour savour and an excuse for me to post the best hockey card ever.
No list of moustaches is complete without the Mad Hungarian. His caterpillar was just part of his wild personality. One of the great characters in the history of baseball, Hrabosky’s ilk doesn’t really exist today and that’s a shame.
In a way, Mel Bridgman was unlucky. He just missed the two Stanley Cups the Flyers won in the 1970s. He also played with Calgary at a time when their provincial rivals from Edmonton were beginning to dominate. Still, Bridgman took no quarter on the ice as he was a prolific fighter and a decent scorer. His grass grin suited him.
One of the more recent entries on this list, the New Zealand born Adams is a throwback to a bygone era. His crumb catcher belongs in 1978 not in 2018 but Adams is his own man and I respect that. Too bad his moustache couldn’t protect his family plan from Draymond Green.
The Hogs get some love here and no one better than the hard-nosed Grimm to represent. The guard was named to the all decade team of the 1980s and was a blue-collar every man who was proud to be a hog. His soup strainer was perfect for him.
My beloved Winnipeg Jets had to make this list and no one better than the French-born MacLean. Playing alongside hall of fame centre Dale Hawerchuk, the burly right-winger wasn’t fancy but scored many a garbage goal, either banging home rebounds or tapping in Hawerchuk passes. His manometer was overshadowed by McDonald but it’s greatly appreciated here.
Confession. I loved Harvey’s Wallbangers. And I’m not talking about the drink. The 1982 Milwaukee Brewers were a fun, exciting team that were a win away from winning the World Series. Gorman Thomas was a main cog on that team as his 39 home runs that season powered the Brew Crew to the AL pennant. It helps that his lady tickler was a sight to behold.
I remember John Madden raving about the Bears fullback during Chicago’s magical 1985 season. Suhey was never going to be the featured back on the Bears, especially with the great Walter Payton in the backfield but Suhey was a dependable lead blocker who did the dirty work. His soup strainer was mighty fine.
Those uniforms. That moustache. Harold Snepsts was beloved in Vancouver but somewhat overlooked around the NHL. But Snepsts didn’t mind as he played a defensive, sturdy role that didn’t demand the limelight. Snepsts was superb during the Canucks miracle run to the Stanley Cup Final in 1982, playing a robust, physical style that was intimidating yet effective. But it’s that stache and that uni that make everything perfect.
Another member of Harvey’s Wallbangers makes the list, this time the 1982 Cy Young Award winner. Vuckovich was terrific in 1982, compiling a 18-6 mark with a 3.34 ERA. Sadly, shoulder problems ended his career prematurely but his double hamster will never be forgotten.
Let’s see. Slightly balding, check. Luscious lip cap, check. Played in the 1970s, check. Harris was a rock on the Dallas Cowboys secondary during Tom Landry’s tenure. Harris spent his entire career with America’s Team and formed a formidable safety partnership with Charlie Waters. Harris won two Super Bowls while looking like a member of the Doobie Brothers.
Another member of the Jets in the 1980s makes this list. The well-travelled defenceman played for 5 teams but since I’m a Jets fan, he’ll be remembered as a Jet in this post. A solid blueliner, Babych also sported a mean mouth brow that should be admired.
Arguably the greatest closer in the history of baseball, Eckersley should be credited for turning his career around, after a battle with alcoholism. His best years were in Oakland where he was a key figure on some dominant Athletics teams in the late 1980s and early 1990s. His duster was quite fantastic as well.
The antithesis of showtime. Rambis was not the architect of the fast break offence that lit up the NBA in the 1980s. The power forward did the dirty work. Play physical low post defence. Grab rebounds. Get under the opponents skin. Add to the fact he wore glasses and sported a lady tickler meant he wasn’t a leading man in any epic Hollywood romantic film.
One of the meanest human beings to ever play in the NFL and that’s saying something. The leader of the famed Steel Curtain defence, Lambert was the NFL defensive player of the year in 1976 and one of the best middle linebackers in the history of the sport. He only grew the stache later in his career but he’s on this list or I’m dead.
The hero of the Islanders during their first Stanley Cup run in 1980. Nystrom scored the biggest goal in franchise history as his overtime winner in Game 6 of the Stanley Cup Final against Philadelphia brought the Islanders their first cup. The Islanders were the first team to start the playoff beard tradition but Nystrom stuck with the upper lipholstery. It worked.
The most recent addition on the baseball side. A good Canadian boy, (born in Simcoe, Ontario) Axford has been somewhat inconsistent throughout his career but was terrific in 2011, leading the NL with 46 saves and capturing the Rolaids Relief Man Award. While his career has stalled, his smoke filter is legendary.
He won 2 Super Bowls, went to 5 Pro Bowls, led the NFL in receptions twice, was an opera singer, hosted American Gladiators, was a decathlete following his NFL career. A unique individual that fit in with the bad boy Raiders, Christensen was one of a kind with a neat nose bug. Christensen passed away in 2013.
When fighting was a big deal in the NHL back in the 1970s, Wensink was one of the main heavyweights that ran wild. A favourite of Don Cherry’s Big Bad Bruins, Wensink is famous for challenging the Minnesota North Stars bench in a game with the North Stars wanting no part to the delight of the Boston Garden crowd. I think his snot mop scared the Stars.
Is that Ken Phelps or Walter White? Is the former Seattle Mariner and Oakland A cooking meth in a motorhome in New Mexico? We’ll never know but Phelps and his lip foliage should be reckoned with.
A terrific defenceman on some legendary Montreal Canadien teams in the 1970s, Robinson was a complete blueliner. He could move the puck, quarterback the power play, shut down the opposition’s top line, play a mean physical game, Robinson was a complete defenceman. While most Canadiens were clean-shaven, Robinson wore the lady tickler and no one complained.
One of the most underrated linebackers in NFL history, the man known as Kaptain Krazy was a fearless middle linebacker in Jerry Glanville’s Gritz Blitz defence that the Atlanta Falcons used in the late 1970s. A pre-cursor to the 46 defence the Chicago Bears used in 1985, the Falcons led by Kuykendall were a tough, hard-hitting defence that terrorized opponents. Kuykendall looked like the guy in the dive bar you don’t mess with.
Oh Bill Buckner. No matter what else he did, he’s remembered for one terrible mistake. Not even his glorious dirt squirrel can save him. Turn away Red Sox fans.
A wonderful two-way centre that was the catalyst of the Islander dynasty in the early 1980s. The native of Val Marie, Saskatchewan won the Art Ross and Hart Trophies in 1979 and the Conn Smythe trophy in 1980. Trottier formed a dynamic partnership with Mike Bossy as they made opposing goalies feel helpless. Trottier’s moustache isn’t out of the ordinary, but he’s so good he deserves a spot on the list.
Steve “Bye Bye” Balboni. Great nickname. Great face furniture. He looks like a power hitter. He was a power hitter. He looks like a biker. He also looks like the dad your girlfriend warned you about. He is Steve Balboni.
Not a high-profile player, Mulvey was with the Blackhawks during a time the franchise was hovering between mediocre and average. Mulvey did score 39 goals in 1979-80 and 30 in 1981-82 and was a physical presence as his 6’4, 210 pound frame showed. His dirt squirrel was fantastic.
A member of the Triple Crown Line with Marcel Dionne and Dave Taylor, Simmer was considered too slow by some scouts. But he was a smart player that had a nose for the net. Simmer suffered a terrible broken leg that ruined a great season in which he scored 56 goals in the 1980-81 season. Simmer scored off the ice as well marrying Playboy Playmate Terri Welles. Had to be that cookie duster.
Any player nicknamed King Kong has to be considered. Then to have a lip cap like that ensures your spot on this list. Korab played for Chicago, Buffalo and Los Angeles using a bruising style and a blistering slap shot.
The sidearmed closer was a vital player for the Kansas City Royals in the 1980s. Quisenberry led the AL in saves 5 times in his career and was a member of the 1985 team that won the World Series. His unusual delivery confounded hitters while his witty banter entertained sportswriters. Sadly, Quisenberry passed away in 1998 at the age of 45.
The best third baseman I’ve ever seen. Schmidt is one of baseball’s all time best and he showcased a fine cookie duster to boot. A 12 time All-Star. 3 time NL MVP. 10 time Gold Glove recipient. 8 time NL home run leader. 6 Sliver Sluggers. 1980 World Series MVP. First ballot Hall of Fame. Named to MLB all time team. 548 career home runs. Enough said.
Time for some CFL love. Jackson spent his entire 12 year career with the BC Lions and patrolled the middle linebacker spot for the Leos. A 6 time division All-Star, Jackson won a Grey Cup in 1985 and was underrated but definitely appreciated by Lions management and fans. That caterpillar is classic.
Kepley was the signal caller of the Edmonton Eskimos defence that won 5 consecutive Grey Cup from 1978 to 1982. Nicknamed Thumper by teammates, Kepley was named CFL defensive player of the year 3 times and was a league All Star 5 times. Kepley entered the Canadian Football Hall of Fame in 1996 and became a TV analyst for CBC and ESPN following retirement. His cookie duster combined with eye black made him an intimidating presence.
What is it with defensive defencemen and magical mouth mirkins? Farrish was another blueliner that grew fantastic facial hair. Bouncing around between the New York Rangers, Quebec Nordiques (RIP), and Toronto Maple Leafs, Farrish was a master of the hip check and wasn’t afraid to use it on anybody.
When you have a lip cap like Garner, Scrapiron is a perfect nickname. Garner had to earn everything on the field as he wasn’t blessed with great natural ability but he worked harder than most. A three-time All Star and a World Series champion in 1979, Garner turned to managing after his playing career.
Another reliever with an intimidating look that was helped by a great crumb catcher. Gossage played for 6 teams over a 13 year MLB career and led the American League in saves three times and was Rolaids Relief Man of the year in 1978. Armed with a fastball that could reach 100 MPH, Gossage is credited for introducing the closer role in baseball.
Donnie Baseball as he was known in the Bronx. Mattingly spent his entire 13 year career with the New York Yankees but he was there when owner George Steinbrenner was meddling with team affairs and was a boor throughout Mattingly’s playing career. Mattingly and Steinbrenner feuded over the owner’s rule of well-kept head and facial hair. Mattingly was benched for refusing to get his haircut or trim his moustache. This incident was parodied brilliantly on The Simpsons as Mattingly guested on the show and was told to trim those sideburns by Mr. Burns ahead of the big softball game. For that alone, Mattingly makes the list.
Another gem of a hockey card. Look at that flow. Look at that luscious lip tickler. McIlhargey was known more for fisticuffs than skill as he split his time between the Philadelphia Flyers, Vancouver Canucks and Hartford Whalers (RIP). But this card is hypnotic. God bless the 1970s.