Yankees’ facial hair policy continues to draw ire from MLB Players

Ex-Yankees player Johnny Damon sporting facial hair in Red Sox uniform and clean shaven in the Bronx.
Inna Zeyger
Wednesday June 12, 2024

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Despite their storied legacy, the New York Yankees found themselves in an unexpected light alongside the Oakland Athletics in a recent player poll conducted by The Athletic.

The survey asked, “What organizations have bad reputations among players?” Unsurprisingly, the A’s topped the list, receiving votes from 40 of the 79 players polled. More surprisingly, the Yankees also received more than one mention.

Alex Verdugo before and after his trade to the Yankees.

One player, speaking anonymously, remarked that the Yankees‘ multitude of rules makes them an unattractive destination. The team’s longstanding policy against beards and hair extending below the collar, instituted by George Steinbrenner in 1973, was highlighted as a significant factor.

Former Yankees outfielder Cameron Maybin had previously criticized this grooming policy, suggesting that the team would appeal more to high-caliber players if it were lifted. The debate raises a pertinent question: How much do these rules truly matter to the players?

Despite the criticism, the Yankees, under owner Hal Steinbrenner, consistently boast one of the league’s highest payrolls and maintain a steadfast commitment to winning the World Series.

Former Yankee Johnny Damon, who won championships with both the Yankees and the Red Sox, told The New York Times that financial incentives remain paramount for players in New York. He expressed no surprise at the policy’s continuation, noting that players who aspire to join the team must adhere to the team’s standards, especially given the financial rewards.

The Athletic’s poll placed the A’s at the top of the list of organizations with poor reputations, followed by the White Sox, Angels, Rockies, Mets, Pirates, Marlins, Rays, Padres, Yankees, Nationals, and Royals. Eight other teams received a single mention each, reflecting varied player opinions across the league.

What do you think? Leave your comment below.

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One thought on “Yankees’ facial hair policy continues to draw ire from MLB Players

  1. I’d be fine with the Yankees loosening their hair & beard policy, as long as both are kept neat & trimmed. James Harden, for example, looks like an absolute A-Hole with his ragged beard, but then, of course, James Harden IS an absolute A-Hole! So, I guess that constitutes truth in advertising,

    Just my opinion, of course, but Verdugo looks 1,000% Better without that crappy beard of his. I love Verdugo as a player, but he looked silly with that beard. Cole, on the other hand, looked cool in his close-cropped beard, but looks better with well-groomed hair; it’d be interesting & possibly amusing to hear Mrs Cole’s opinion on which way she thinks her husband looks better.

    Come to think of it. why don’t you folks at pinstripes nation do a poll of the wives or partners of Yankee players & get their views on the subject? It’d be interesting to find out whether their partners prefer them well groomed or not.

    And why not poll Yankee players? A story ostensibly about whether this policy is costing the Yankees players is kind of silly if Yankee players themselves don’t car about the policy, right?

    Having said that, I’ve never understood why athletes who play in the sweltering heat of summer would want exceeding-long hair & beards to make them feel even hotter in the summer heat.

    I had longish hair when I played baseball in my teens & mid-20s, and it definitely made me sweat far more, but I was just a kid worried about appealing to girls, girls, girls. So, I can’t understand why adult professional athletes would want to be hotter & sweat more when they’re playing. That seems dumb & counter intuitive to me.

    After all, sports groupies are going to chase them regardless of their hair length or whether they have beards. I mean, does anyone seriously think Shaquille O’Neal suffered in that regard because of a lack of facial & head hair. (We should all be as lucky as Shaq is that regard. 😉

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