Pete Vuckovich, Moustaches and Underrated Franchise Legends

1986 Topps - Pete Vuckovich

1986 Topps – Pete Vuckovich

In exciting news, pitchers and catchers reported for the Toronto Blue Jays today, February 22… along with the Minnesota Twins, they were the last team to report to Spring Training.  Which means the injuries to their pitching staff will take place just slightly later than all the other teams.  That counts as win number one, I’d say.

Now, speaking of Blue Jays pitchers, we need to talk about someone important.  He is the man who saved the first win in Toronto Blue Jays history – you might recall a snow covered plastic field and a win over the Chicago White Sox (the team that let him go in the Expansion Draft) – and who also pitched the first shutout in Jays history, a 12-strikeout masterpiece over the Baltimore Orioles.  I’ll bet there aren’t a ton of guys with stats like that.  His name is Pete Vuckovich.

Vuckovich, now a Special Assistant to the GM with the Seattle Mariners, despite his contributions to Blue Jays history, should be most famous for his facial hair, and slightly less famous for his regular hair.  He perpetuated the former image of “Toronto the Good” with his clean-cut, preppy image during his brief time in Toronto, but later, blew that shit out of the water when he decided to look like he did on the card above, a little bit in St. Louis, and then a lot with the Milwaukee Brewers.  Put the moustache, the bowl-cut mullet, and the “I’m going to kill you with a hammer” facial expression together and you’ve got yourself a legend.

Maybe a team that went 54-107 in their first season should have tried to keep this guy for another year or two, even if they didn’t know he’d end up with the moustache.

Lanny McDonald, Bad Helmets, and Colorado

1981-82 Topps - Lanny McDonald

1981-82 Topps – Lanny McDonald

Lanny McDonald played 142 games in one full season and parts of two others for the Colorado Rockies, scoring 66 goals and 75 assists for 141 points.  However, for most people, it’s an easy part of his career to forget, stuck between some tumultuous years in Toronto with Harold Ballard and Punch Imlach, and eight seasons and a Stanley Cup back home in Alberta with the Calgary Flames.

Two things that were consistent for him throughout his career were his trademark moustache, which you’ve heard all about.  It’s an incredible legend.  He also wore a pretty ugly helmet, which, interestingly enough, he wore every game of his NHL career except the first.  There, now you’ve learned something.