If you're like me, you just grew a beard because you wanted to see how long it could grow during summer break. Even if you're not like me, you may have noticed that it seems like more and more baseball players today are growing beards as well.
It begs the question: Was this a prevalent style in the 1991 Fleer set?
To answer that question, I have compiled what will hereby be known as The Grizzly Adams Starting Rotation. To make the cut, players are judged not by their numbers, but on the quality of their beard. It's only a four man rotation because, let's face it, with a rotation as manly as this one, nobody needs an extra day of rest.
#4 Starter - Rick Aguilera
Rick Aguilera grows a solid beard. As a kid, I can't remember him without his face-warmer, but he managed to make it still look pretty cool. By 1991, he had been put into a bullpen role, but for this instance, we'll toss him back into the rotation spot that he had in the late 80s as a New York Met. In any other set, he would be ranked much higher than number four, but...
this is the picture on the back of his card. What happened Rick? Didja lose a bet? More than likely, this could be a Spring Training photo, and Florida heat + thick beard = more than a little toasty.
#3 Starter - Bert Blyleven
As the lone Hall of Famer in the Grizzly Adams rotation, Blyleven's credentials (287 wins and 3,701 strikeouts) are of little help to him here. While his beard is certainly a trademark, the Dutchman's close cropped look is only good for our #3 starter.
#2 Starter - Ron Robinson
My only memories of Ron Robinson are on baseball cards, and most of them seemed to be from his Reds playing days. The Reds uniform with his red beard and large stature (6'4") led me to think of him as "Big Red Ron Robinson". If the Grizzly Adams rotation was to see playing time in 1991, Robinson wouldn't have been considered a workhorse by any means. In the third game of the season for the Brew Crew, he lasted 4.1 innings and gave up 3 runs before leaving with an elbow injury. It would be his only game of the season, and he would retire after 8 more in 1992. But here, his massive beard makes him a massive #2 starter.
Ace of the Grizzly Adams staff - Jeff Reardon
What? How can a closer (who led the AL in saves in 1985) be the "ace" of the staff? Well, if Rick Ankiel can go from being a pitcher to an outfielder, Reardon could go from the bullpen to the Opening Day starter. Obviously he would need some good coaching to help him make the transition, but his Paul Bunyan-like beard would be more than up for the job.
While his ERA might suffer in the early part of the season, his FPcm (follicles per centimeter) would easily lead the rest of the league. By putting more faith in his beard than his arm (or rational thinking), Reardon would become a legend, and his scruff would win MVB.
Of course, if you have a starting rotation as manly and tough as these four, you can't have some limp wristed pansy calling the game behind the plate. But who would you call on to make up the other half of the battery?
While his name might be Junior, that is certainly a Major League beard.