The Wasted Potential of Greg Maddux

Greg Maddux crafted a Hall of Fame career using pinpoint control, changing pitch speeds and release points, and by out-smarting hitters, among other non-STUFF-based stuff. One can hardly say that he failed to fulfill his promise.

Except when it comes to the Matter of Moustachios.

Whiskers of what could have been.

The above ’87 Donruss card captures the stylish potential that Maddux possessed as a rookie. Had he developed in the ways of facial hair the same way that he did in baseball IQ, he might have been a great mentor to ratstache World Series hero Derek Holland.

Instead, it’ll be Rangers pitching coach — and Greg’s brother — Mike Maddux (moonlights as Frank Zappa) who guides young Dutch into [hopefully] suitable hirsutery. Mike and Greg are the José and Ozzie Canseco of facial hair.

Mike Maddux:Frank Zappa::Ron Swanson:Duke Silver

And while Brother Mike continues to rock the ‘stache-&-patch into social security, by the end of his playing career, Greg had resorted to cheap upper-lip airbrushings, courtesy the county fair:

“Remember that you are dust…”

Pitchers, what with their many “off” days and excessive time spent in the isolation of the bullpen, often become some of the more eccentric personalities in MLB (the colorfulness of pitchers like Mark “Bird” Fidrych, Dock Ellis, and Bill “Spaceman” Lee is well documented), and, thus, has produced some of the most fantastic facial hair that fans have ever seen.

Things of beauty: bearded Bill Lee; butterfly.

Given Maddux’s craftiness, longevity, and notable intelligence, he seems like a prime candidate to have experimented with some kind of face bristle. Then again, Maddux wasn’t really known for being avant garde, just studious. Amazingly studious. The consumate baseball nerd. Which, I suppose, is sort of amazing in its own completeness.

Total spring break nyerd.

Still, because I believe that every great man deserves a great moustache, and that the great fans of NotGraphs deserve to remember their baseballing heroes so dignified, I have, for one blog post only, loaned my own vibrant, Photoshopped moustachio to Greg Maddux, so that we might remember what never was, and sleep better for it.

May it tickle his otherwise retired lip, and all of yours, too.

120.6 career WAR; mythical moustache.

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Why, o why didn’t he ever try a John Waters pencil ‘stache? They would have renamed cities for him!