Outfielder Andrew McCutchen only spent a couple of months with the Yankees in 2018, but that was enough time to understand how antiquated the Yankees’ grooming policy is. As NJ.com’s Brendan Kuty notes, the Yankees don’t allow players to wear their hair past the collar of their jersey and their facial hair can’t extend beyond the top lip.
On The Sports Bubble with Jensen Karp, McCutchen said, “I definitely do think it takes away from our individualism as players and as people. We express ourselves in different ways.” McCutchen added, “I feel like maybe there should be some change there in the future — who knows when — but it’s just one of the many things in this game that I feel that there just needs … it needs to be talked about, and to be addressed.”
This is not the first time and likely not the last time the Yankees’ facial hair policy will be called into question. David Price said back in 2013 he wouldn’t sign with the Yankees because of the policy, though he walked back the comment a few days later.
At some point, though, the Yankees have to ask themselves if it’s really worth it. They’re the only team left with a grooming policy for its players. The Marlins briefly had one in 2016 under manager Don Mattingly, and the Reds had one as an unwritten rule until 1999. It’s very much in-style for men to have facial hair and it is, as McCutchen says, a way for players to express themselves. MLB has had issues marketing players because the culture tamps down on such behavior, including bat-flipping. Consider how Dodgers fans show their appreciation for third baseman Justin Turner by wearing fake orange beards. Even MLB.com called the beard and mullet of Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon “one of the game’s signature looks.”
McCutchen, 33, is entering the second year of his three-year, $50 million contract with the Phillies. The Phillies have no such grooming policy, so McCutchen has been expressing himself.