This card serves as a lasting tribute to Pat Hentgen's mustache. I used to call this style of facial hair a "fu manchu", but I've come to learn that a fu manchu technically hangs off of the chin like this. What #41 is sporting is properly known as a "horseshoe", but is also often referred to as the "Hulk Hogan" or the "Earl". For many years I yearned to grow a mighty Flavor Saver like that, but the only place that hair grew thickly and evenly on my face was on my chin. So the goatee became my calling card, but every once in a while I tried to branch out (particularly in college, when I just couldn't be bothered with shaving regularly). I usually gave up within a few weeks, because my upper lip and cheeks resembled nothing so much as a barber shop floor. I even convinced my Dad to shave his trademark beard down into a horseshoe for a brief period, so that I could live vicariously through him. I still maintain that it helped to intimidate his high school students into obedience.
Last year, I finally reached for the stars. I can't quite explain what compelled me to do it, but I spent the spring of 2007 patiently growing out a full goatee. I never got fully used to the way the mustache portion looked, and it never quite fully connected to the chin hair. But as it got longer and slightly fuller, I saw my opportunity. In June, I shaved my chin before my roommate's birthday party. I had finally arrived. Even better: as a sign of solidarity, said roomie crafted a horseshoe 'stache of his own. Still, he shaved his off later that night, while I reveled in my hirsute glory for a few more weeks. Below you can see my best attempt to channel Pat Hentgen, Al Hrabosky, Rod Beck, and all of the other greats (I'm on the left, of course, in my Orioles Spring Training tee).