The 1970s were a time of renaissance for men’s hair of all sorts, but facial hair really made great strides during the decade.
Gone were the straight-laced, clean-shaven ideals of the 1950s and 1960s, replaced with a wild and woolly devotion to style and masculinity.
And nowhere was this trend more evident than on Major League diamonds across the nation.
Here are 10 vintage baseball cards that capture the essence of those heady, hirsute years..
1974 Topps Topps Luis Tiant
Luis Tiant wants to hurt you.
If you don’t believe that, just take a look at his 1974 Topps baseball card.
Ignore the eyes, which seem placid, maybe even kind.
Focus instead on the lower jaw jutting forward and the lips firmly slammed together.
And on top of those lips, that massive sprawling mustache that looks like the back legs of some hideous fuzzy spider as it disappears into El Tiante’s nose.
Now, imagine you’re a batter about to stand in against a pitcher who regards you with that stare, that venomous mustache.
Yep, Luis Tiant wants to hurt you, alright.
And if you’re still not convinced, remind yourself of just how twisted and menacing Tiant’s delivery was.
1975 Topps Rollie Fingers
If you collected baseball cards in the 1970s or 1980s, Rollie Fingers probably confused the heck out of you the first time you saw him.
Here was a tall, lanky hurler with a stoic demeanor and a perfect handlebar mustache who seemed to have stepped straight out of the 19th century.
And yet, he sported the most modern of uniforms — the mustard and chocolate smocks of the San Diego Padres and the powder blue pajamas of the Milwaukee Brewers.
The old-style A’s camp and green stripes on his Oakland jersey look much more appropriate on him and accentuate that upper lip, don’t you think?
1976 Topps Garry Maddox
Garry Maddox was a clean-shaven teenager when the San Franciso Giants drafted him in 1968, but a stint in Vietnam changed his life — and his face.
Exposed to noxious chemicals while deployed with the U.S. Army, Maddox returned home in 1970 with skin so sensitive that it hurt to shave.
Lucky for him — and us — that the 1970s were the perfect time to grow out a full beard, and Maddox did it with flair. Throughout the next two decades, he experimented with various configurations, and the “chinless” style he exhibits on his 1976 Topps card was a favorite.
And why not? With a couple strokes of the razor, the defensive wizard was able to transform his beard into a full-face mustache that had few rivals in terms of sheer volume.
1976 Topps Traded Oscar Gamble
This iconic baseball card showcases maybe one of the best Afros of all time, and certainly among the most famous.
But there is so much more going on here.
Look at that halo around the Yankees cap created by Topps’ airbrushes.
Look at that flat but intimidating expression on Oscar Gamble’s face, almost daring you to make a comment.
Look, for goodness sake, at the cheesy caption on the fake newspaper : YANKEES TAKE GAMBLE ON OSCAR
Yet it all gets kind of lost in the glare of that cap-and-hair combo, doesn’t it?
And the most underappreciated aspect of the card just may be Oscar’s mustache, perfectly contoured to his mouth and matching the downturned arc of his eyes.
It also ties together everything else, giving your eye an almost unnoticed focal point.
Without that 70s ‘stache, the whole card would just look … strange.
1977 Topps Al Hrabosky
Al Hrabosky was known as “The Mad Hungarian” for his machinations on the mound and for his wild, unkempt appearance.
He’s looking quite civilized on his 1977 Topps card, though, all prim and proper in his St. Louis Cardinals pillbox hat and doing his best impression of Mike Stivic from All in the Family.
And any meathead of the day would have been proud to call that massive, crab-shaped mustache his own.
1977 Topps Mike Schmidt
Mike Schmidt could do just about everything on the baseball diamond.
He was a 10-time Gold Glove winner at third base and slammed 548 home runs, and he even once stole 29 bases in a season.
Schmidt was so great that SABR god Bill James once opined that, had Schmidt hit .320 instead of .267, he’d have been the greatest player of all-time.
Throughout his playing career, Schmidt’s thick but reasonable mustache was as much a part of his mystique as was his prodigious swing. On this 1977 Topps card, Schmidt let his ‘stache grow beyond its normal bounds just a bit, its reddish tint lending to the Thor’s-Hammer feel of the picture.
“I can do anything I want with my facial hair,” Mike seemed to be telling the rest of the league.
Just like on the field.
1978 Topps Davey Lopes
That can’t be a mustache under Davey Lopes’ nose on his 1978 Topps card, right?
I mean, we must be looking into the dark maw of Davey’s mouth as he engages in some sort of misshapen yawn … right?
As improbable as it may seem, you need only look at other photos or baseball cards of Lopes from the era to know that his lip critter was legit. It may have peaked in all its glory on the 1978 Topps card, but it was a constant in Davey’s presentation from the mid-1970s forward.
Taking another look at that card, don’t you get the feeling that Lopes could have done anything he wanted with that mustache? Left untamed, it seems likely it would have covered his face and maybe engulfed his entire body, Captain Caveman-style.
1981 Coca-Cola Dick Tidrow
Dick Tidrow started growing his mustache in the 1970s, and he had a nice, dark crop by the end of the decade.
The winter of 1979-80 must have been especially tough in Chicago, or maybe Tidrow fed his upper lip a steady diet of Miracle-Gro.
Whatever the case, he sported one of the Majors’ most epic mustaches in 1980, as chronicled on the 1981 Coca-Cola card issued by Topps. You have to wonder, though: could Tidrow even drink a Coke around all that hair?
1982 Topps Tim Blackwell
Tim Blackwell spent the last half of the 70s as a journeyman catcher and … growing his prodigious mustache.
By the time the early 80s rolled around, Blackwell wore a pushbroom on his upper lip that allowed him to moonlight as the clubhouse janitor.
Tim’s mustache may be unmatched in terms of thickness and mouth-obscuring grandeur in the history of the sport.
1984 Donruss George Foster
Poor George Foster!
Playing under the puritanical “no-facial-hair” policy of the Cincinnati Reds in the 1970s, the feared slugger was forced to face pitchers with nothing but a bare lip and his powerful swing.
He did test the establishment, though, growing some of the best sideburns in the game and angling them in toward the center of his face.
When he was traded to the New York Mets before the 1982 season, it took Foster all of about 10 minutes to fill in that gap with a thick mustache we all knew he’d been mentally grooming for a decade.
Check out more awesome baseball cards from your youth at Wax Pack Gods.
Who is your favorite?
Leave a comment below.
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