This blog was originally about Willie Randolph's facial hair policy and the hope that it would inspire some Mets to grow mustaches. As we all know, that never really happened. We took some time off to mourn the passing of a great opportunity and decided to come back for the 2009 season with a new outlook. Mandatory Mustache is resigned to the fact that few, if any, current Mets will ever grow mustaches. So we'll chronicle the Mets mustaches of seasons past, and just about any other weird things that happen with this great club, mustache-related or not. The Mets have always been a strange team both on and (especially) off the field. Mandatory Mustache is here to celebrate this weirdness.
When Willie Randolph took over the New York Mets ahead of the 2005 season, he instituted a number of new clubhouse rules, the most notable of which was his “no facial hair” policy…well, almost no facial hair. Randolph-style mustaches were to be allowed. Despite having “Yankees” written all over it, we here at Mandatory Mustache thought this policy was a great move. You know, shake things up, bring a little class back into the game, get rid of the goatees and soul patches…If there’s one thing the game doesn’t need, it’s more Houston Astros.
So it was with utter disappointment that we watched this brilliant managerial maneuver fall apart over the course of the 2006 season. Our Mets sat atop the NL East, but players like Paul Lo Duca were strutting around the bases with beards. While looking ahead to the 2007 season, we saw this as the most pressing issue facing the team. Yes, more pressing than the starting rotation. A strict facial hair policy could be the thing that moves the Mets from contender to superclub.
Mandatory Mustache believes that the Randolph facial hair policy should be fully re-instated, and it should do more than allow mustaches…it should require them. The mustache has been closely tied to America’s pastime since the game’s inception, and it's about time it was given its proper respect again. From the baseball pioneers of the late 19th century to the great teams of the 1970s, success has walked hand-in-hand with the mustache. Consider the unrivaled success of George Gore and the 1880 Chicago White Stockings, or the triumph of Oakland’s Mustache Gang in 1972. The link is undeniable.
Do you, dear reader, really believe it was a mere coincidence that the Mets’ mustache-to-player ratio peaked in the second half of 1986? Even Buckner was no match for them. Was José Valentin’s exceptional 2006 season at all surprising? No, not really. Valentin has harnessed the mustache's baseballing prowess.
We’re at a tipping point here, folks. We’ve got a strong team and our first mustachioed manager since Sir Davey Johnson. There’s only one missing element--mandatory mustaches.