January 3rd, 2013

Frenchy’s Mustache

On this date in 1910, future Dodger outfielder Stanley “Frenchy” Bordagaray was born in Coalinga, CA. Bordagaray was best known for arriving at the team’s 1936 spring training camp with a mustache, which he grew for a bit role in the film “The Prisoner of Shark Island.” Ballplayers at the time were expected to be clean shaven and no player since 1914 had worn a mustache. Brooklyn sportswriters encouraged Bordagaray to grow out the mustache and goatee, but manager Casey Stengel months later made the player shave. Stengel told Bordagaray, “If anyone’s going to be a clown on this team, it’s going to be me.” Mustaches were not seen in the Majors again until the early 1970s when Oakland Athletics owner Charlie Finley paid his players to grow facial hair. Finley hosted a “mustache day” at the Oakland ballpark and he invited Bordagaray to serve as master of ceremonies. Bordagaray passed away in Ventura in 2000 at the age of 90. He compiled a lifetime .283 average with five teams from 1934-41.

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