The Oakland A’s have a rich history of mustaches. They practically invented facial hair in Major League Baseball in the 1970s by forming the Mustache Gang and winning three championships wearing their bold whiskers. Rollie Fingers’ handlebars are one of the most iconic images in franchise history.
Over the years we’ve enjoyed seeing all kinds of interesting styles come through Oakland, and most recently we got a laugh with Mike Fiers’ cat-tail beard. On Wednesday, the A’s follicular lore received its latest chapter courtesy of Matt Olson.
The star first baseman is not always clean-shaven, enough so that stubble was included on his bobblehead last year, but this is the first time we’ve seen it styled into something intentional. Last night against the Texas Rangers, he showed up with just the stache, and you can see the transformation here:
Side note: Did anyone else initially think Olson was wearing a red cape in the photo on the right? It’s the face mask wrapped around the neck that really drives home the optical illusion. Also, Olson should wear a cape now and go full Musketeer/Zorro.
Granted, there’s still room for it to grow, but it’s a good start.
However, the story doesn’t end with Olson just showing up looking like a boss, or at least like your boss’ college-aged son. Once he stepped into the batter’s box, the stache showed its true power, helping him homer in his very first at-bat against Kyle Gibson.
Ignore the fact that Olson entered the game 4-for-9 with a homer against Gibson in his career. This dinger was because of the mustache.
Olson walked in his next plate appearance, much as one might do to their local indie record store or vintage shop. He grounded out in his third trip against Gibson, a pitcher you probably hadn’t even heard of until he was already famous.
But then the Rangers went to their bullpen, and Olson got a chance to face a new hurler. On the very first pitch from Luke Farrell, he went yard again.
In terms of splits, Square Olson entered the day with a .563 OPS and only one dinger in 11 games this year. He now currently has a 3.417 OPS when wearing a mustache, with nearly a full RBI per plate appearance. That’s math and you can’t argue it.
Baseball players are notoriously superstitious. If something doesn’t work then they’ll ditch it, as Fiers did with his cat-tail after he exited that start early due to injury. But if they get hot under certain conditions, they will keep those conditions in place as well as possible for as long as necessary, like the proverbial not changing your socks during a hitting streak (note: it’s not always socks). We can’t know the extent to which Olson personally shares that trait, but the smart bet after this dingeriffic first impression is that the stache isn’t going anywhere for a while.
That mustache is here to stay. Matt Olson with his 2nd homer of the night. Mustaches in Oakland? Has that ever worked before? #RootedInOakland— Casey Pratt (@CaseyPrattABC7) August 6, 2020
Just call him Mr. Baseball.
Of course, Olson isn’t the only A’s player currently sporting a stache. Swingman pitcher Daniel Mengden famously has Rollie-style handlebars, which he shaved last winter but grew back in time for the season. Fellow pitcher Sean Manaea is onboard for now, although he hasn’t had as much success on the field lately and does have a tendency to mix up his style often, so we’ll see how long it lasts.
Matt Chapman has also experimented during spring training the last couple years, though we haven’t seen it much (at all?) in the regular season.
Off the field, the A’s have amply bearded broadcaster Dallas Braden. The former Oakland pitcher paid further tribute to the cause by getting a tattoo of Rollie Fingers (riding a dolphin over a rainbow, as one does).
Mustaches are a part of the Oakland A’s identity, so it’s never bad to see them show up. Long live Olson’s stache, and I wouldn’t complain if it started a trend around the team in 2020.