Though I don't have any stats to back this up, my guess is that more men have beards in April than in any other month. There might be a case for more beards-a-sproutin' in whatever month it is that people enter week 2 of mountain climbing expeditions, but we are entering NHL playoff beard season, and University exam beards are in mid-swing, so in North America, I hypothesize that beard season is upon us. Now (let's make the connection) having just watched professional sports for 10 hours straight and counting, I feel the need to take a hairy little look at the top 5 Regular Beard Wearing Athletes of all time (playoff beards not eligible). I'm not the first to do this, I'm really not, but who has time to obsess about being original anymore? And besides, no other list drops a Jeff Reardon reference (OH! TEASER ALERT!)
1. Brian Wilson (2006 - Present)Wilson's the obvious number one, for having both a thick and lustrous beard and for practically branding the thing. This includes the phenomenally extraneous site where you can play with his beard and click on it for fun little follicular surprises (try it). This guy's ebony beard is so famous, his twitter is a silhouette of a featureless bearded face. In 20 years, when my brain cells can't quite access the name of the pitcher who closed the 2010 World Series, I will remember a beard and a Giants' cap.
2. Randy Moss (1998 - Maybe the Present)Besides being one of my favourite athletes of all time (when he was a Patriot), Randy Moss's eyelashes nearly touch his beard. Randy sports the rare case of a beard at high tide that threatens to take over the entire face. I remember a high school math teacher who possessed a similar lupine appearance, but instead of catching passes from Tom Brady, he seeped brown armpit stains. If Randy Moss wore slightly large sunglasses, you might see no unbearded cheek skin of the Mossy one. Sort of like how Teen Wolf looked in the segment of the movie where he starts to turn into an asshole....
Hey, Boof. Can you believe I'm 5'3 and on the basketball team?
3. Clark Gillies (1974 - 1988)Though the most dramatic beard in hockey history has to go to Mike Commodore, that was a playoff beard and is disqualified from top 5 contention. A bit of a nostalgic choice, Clark Gillies' regular beard is really the only thing I remember about his face. It seemed a lot of 1970s New York Islanders looked like members of the Spartan Army. I'll go out on a limb and declare that the best team facial hair in NHL history would probably have to go to the 1979 New York Islanders, though because I don't want to research it, I will accept nominations. The internet is abuzz with rumours that Gillies was the first playoff beard, and though he would end up going moustache only through the 1980s, his best seasons were in full beard-face.
4. Jeff Reardon (1979 - 1994)Growing up, I can only remember one player on my baseball cards who sported a full beard to any conspicuous degree. It was Jeff Reardon, who looked like my best friend's dad and who has had a rough post-baseball career which has included the death of a son, a charge for armed robbery, and a legal declaration of drug-induced insanity. There's nothing funny about that, but man, as both an Expo and a beard wearer, The Terminator was pretty great. I hope Jeff Reardon someday Googles himself, finds this blog, doesn't sue me for posting the picture, and sees that I thought he was pretty awesome.
5. "Macho Man" Randy Savage (1973 - 2005)Ohhh yeah, dig it. The Macho Man's beard is so pure, that one wonders just how much of the savage was derived from the beard itself. I remember being a kid and wondering how a man with such a hairy face could have such a smooth body. WWE chest hair removal methods remain its great cultural contribution (not that I'd know). Because I had a massive crush on Miss Elizabeth (who didn't? She screwed up a generation of boys' image of what a beautiful woman was), I thought that my hairless body was half way to my dream of injuring Ricky Steamboat and kissing Miss Elizabeth on the mouth. I dreamed of the day (I was guessing maybe 16) where a beard would christen me "macho" - alas, it didn't happen, though I did pick up a small mound of chest hair in my early twenties.
Honorable Mentions (but disqualified for being too obvious or lacking in material for me to write a paragraph about): Dan Fouts (too Will Ferrel), Alexi Lalas (talking about U.S. Soccer is pretentious), Brett Keisel (too everyone else has already talked about his beard), Kimbo Slice (MMA people will find my blog and write "Homo" in my comments), Sebastien Chabal (too nobody reading this will know him), Hacksaw Jim Duggan (too...Two Wrestlers?).
Anyone make to the end of this? Anyone have any favourite bearded athlete they care to discuss? Come on anonymous bots and people putting porn links in my comments - I know you're going to tell me how informative my blog is for your essay, but go out on a bearded limb. Let me guess: you like 70s Bjorn Borg.
I am not David Beckham.