Bushy League

Don't tell George Steinbrenner: Beards are a growth industry
January 23, 2006

BRUCE SUTTER (above) is the first pitcher to get into the Hall of Fame without starting a game--and will be the first player to sport a full beard on his Hall plaque. Hirsute athletes dominated the news last week as woolly jawed Jake Plummer (right) and bushy-faced Ben Roethlisberger (left) guided the Broncos and the Steelers, respectively, to the AFC Championship Game. Before thousands of requests roll in, here's a brief look at the wide world of sports whiskers.

•December 2005
After signing with the Yankees, Johnny Damon loses the Jesus look that made him a heartthrob in Boston. His short haircut and close shave please The Boss. Ditto for Damon's wife: "I think he looks better with less hair on his face."

•July 2005
After sitting out a season to study holistic medicine and smoke pot, Ricky Williams returns to the Dolphins--with his lumberjack chin growth. Says one teammate, "He looks like a little homeless guy."

•August 1982
Former Rangers reliever Jim Kern, who shaved to comply with team rules when traded to the Reds before the season, starts regrowing his beard. "If it means a fight, it'll be a fight," he says. It means a trade: Two weeks later Kern gets shipped to the more permissive White Sox.

•May 1977
The Battle of the Beards: Centers Bill Walton (Blazers) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (Lakers) duke it out for the Western Conference title. Walton sweeps the series and leads Portland to the NBA championship, but the well-groomed Abdul-Jabbar gets the sartorial edge. "My beard is so nasty," Walton once said. "It's the only beard in the history of Western civilization that makes Bob Dylan's beard look good."

•May 1974
"Cowboy" Bill Flett, who paved the way for the NHL's playoff beard tradition with his unruly fuzz, helps the Flyers win the Stanley Cup. The beard wasn't Flett's only cowboy affectation: He later wore spurs on his skates for old-timers' games.

•April 1972
Outfielder Garry Maddox debuts with the Giants--and gets a medical dispensation from the team's antibeard rules because a skin condition makes shaving painful. He was granted the same exemption while serving in the Army in Vietnam.

•April 1930
The House of David, a popular barnstorming team fielded by a conservative Christian sect, plays the country's first night baseball game, in Independence, Kans. Five o'clock shadow wasn't a worry for the David players--their religion forbade shaving.

TEN PHOTOSRONALD C. MODRA (SUTTER); BRIAN SPURLOCK/US PRESSWIRE (ROETHLISBERGER); E. BAKKE/WIREIMAGE.COM (PLUMMER); JOHN IACONO (DAMON); HEINZ KLUETMEIER (WILLIAMS, KERN); HANK DELESPINASSE (WALTON, ABDUL-JABBAR); BRUCE BENNETT STUDIOS/GETTY IMAGES (FLETT); NATIONAL BASEBALL HALL OF FAME LIBRARY, COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. (MADDOX, HOUSE OF DAVID)

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)