Los Angeles Dodgers relief pitcher Brian Wilson is back in the big leagues. There are still questions about how well he’ll rebound from the Tommy John surgery that kept him out of the game since April 2012, but his beard hasn’t missed a beat. Now a razor company is offering him a chance to earn $1 million on the side.
800Razors.com just wants Wilson to shave his jet-black, bushy trademark. He’s unlikely to agree, but if he does, he might want to negotiate the price first. It’s been nearly 30 years since another razor maker tried to get the bearded members of ZZ Top to bare their chins for the same paycheck. In 1984, Gillette offered Billy Gibbons and Dusty Hill $1 million to shave. Gillette would have had better luck (and gotten more laughs) trying to get them to shave their legs. (Meanwhile, drummer Frank Beard remains, ironically, the only band member without one.)
To be fair, the ZZ Top offer broke down to $500,000 apiece, and Wilson has some serious competition in the “most famous person with the name Brian Wilson” category, so a million bucks is more than reasonable. But during his days as the ace closer for the San Francisco Giants, Wilson’s beard started to take on a life of its own, so he might want to consider its place in history.
Hall of Famer Rollie Fingers redefined Wilson’s position. Fingers was a closer before they were called “closers.” In 1981, the year before Wilson was born, he won the American League MVP and Cy Young awards as a member of the Milwaukee Brewers. He had already been named the 1974 World Series MVP with Oakland. Fingers has a permanent place in the record books, but he’s remembered for his mustache, a classic handlebar with a wax job that would make Madame Tussaud melt.
Fingers originally grew the mustache in 1972 as part of an Oakland A’s team-gag-turned-promotion. But his facial hair history didn’t matter to the Cincinnati Reds. In 1986, the Reds wanted the then-39-year-old Fingers to join their pitching staff. One stipulation: the mustache had to go. It seems team owner Marge Schott had a policy requiring all of her players to be clean shaven. Fingers understood the power of the ‘stache. He refused to shave it and retired.
Before he makes any decisions, Wilson should consider consulting with his new manager Don Mattingly, who back in his days as a player got into real-life hair histrionics with New York Yankees owner George Steinbrenner, which later spawned a fantastic, fictional, facial-hair fight with Mr. Burns on “The Simpsons.”
But if $1 million of Springfield Nuclear Power Plant money had been on the table, maybe Mattingly would have shaved those sideburns a little sooner.