When you think of beards and baseball, you don’t generally think Atlanta Braves.
The addition of pitcher Dallas Keuchel and his trademark facial hair may change that.
For years, Hall of Fame manager Bobby Cox forbid bristles when he ran the Braves. (Though there were some exceptions, e.g. John Smoltz.) Following Cox’s retirement in 2010, the Braves’ clubhouse started showing more five-o’clock shadow.
A rule remains for Braves minor league players barring beards.
The rule forced reliever Jason Motte to trim his long facial locks when he signed a minor-league deal with the Braves in 2017.
Once he joined the big-league Braves Motte hardly seemed to be affected about losing his beard. “It is, what it is. It’ll grow back, but that’s what I said about my hair,” Motte said with a laugh.
But Atlanta has shown signs it can embrace scruff.
A year before Motte signed, the Braves released a bobble head of Nick Markakis and his beard. Braves broadcasters at the time eluded to a controversy over the length of the bobblehead’s facial hair and how it did not match the outfielder’s.
Last season, part of the Braves’ campaign to send Markakis to the All-Star game paid homage to his beard.
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