|Tampa Bay relief pitchers Fernando Rodney (left) and|
Joel Peralta take in Monday's game from the bench.
I think it started with Al Hrabosky, "the Mad Hungarian," a left-hander with the St. Louis Cardinals in the mid-1970s who famously feuded with owner Gussie Busch over his long hair and Fu Manchu moustache.
Certainly the pattern over the years has been for relievers to favor facial hair. (Not that being clean-shaven has damaged Mariano Rivera's effectiveness any.)
I don't seriously believe major league hitters are frightened by a goatee. Somebody who tries to take the mound in one of these helmets ... that might be another matter, although the intimidation factor would be raised a bit if the pitcher were throwing a javelin.