Betting on the MLB All-Star Game this week? Well, here’s some advice: Forget poring over the obvious—home run statistics or on-base percentages—and instead take a look at the players’ faces——hairy lips, chins, and cheeks are apparently a foolproof predictor of All-Star Game success according to a new study.
Our friends at Wahl commissioned sports research company STATS to delve into this fuzzy phenomenon, and the results prove it: In baseball, it appears that beards breed success. Why? Maybe it’s the sheer amount of manliness associated with facial hair or the intimidation factor brought to the field when you’re staring down someone who looks like he spent the past five months surviving the perils of the wilderness. Whatever the explanation, there’s living proof that a little scruff goes a long way.
The last six All-Star Game MVPs all sported facial hair: Melky Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Brian McCann, Carl Crawford, J.D. Drew, and Ichiro Suzuki. Those players were a combined 10 for 17 (.589) with four HRs and 12 RBIs.
Over the past three All-Star Games, players with facial hair had twice as many extra-base hits——eight——than those without scruff, even though clean-shaven players outnumbered them 64 to 57.
60% of the Home Run Derby winners over the past 10 years had facial hair.
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Players with facial hair have averaged more HRs (12.3) per derby than players without (10.5).
Players with facial hair have cleaned up in major offensive categories over the past decade at the All-Star Game. They have a .287 batting average, .338 OBP, .441 slugging percentage, and .779 OPS. Clean-shaven players, on the other hand, are at .226, .272, .382, and .654, respectively.
So, as baseball’s biggest stars prepare to slug it out in the midsummer classic, perhaps you should be rooting for players with a little more stubble, rather than those with a little more swing…and you may want to think about applying these game-winning grooming tactics to your corporate summer league as well.