The New York Yankees are baseball's biggest team. They also remain the sport's biggest haters of facial hair.
For decades, the Bronx Bombers have forbidden their players from growing any facial hair other than a well-maintained mustache. The policy originates from their former owner George Steinbrenner, who instituted the policy in 1976.
46 years later, the Yankees are still having players break out the razor when they join the club. They aren't the only team to use such a policy over the years, or even the originators of the idea, but the policy has become part of the Yankees' identity.
Some of the Yankees' players, however, aren't fans. Former New York outfielder Cameron Maybin joined the group on Thursday, tweeting that the policy made the team a less attractive destination for free agents and that many quality players think the rule is "wack."
The full text of the tweet:
"This might be an unpopular take to Yankees fans, but you'd be surprised how much more attractive the Yankees would be if they got rid of that facial hair rule. You wouldn't believe how many quality players just think it's a wack rule to have. I mean cmon we're coming up on 2024 let that go already, and I swear it would be more appealing. Again this only comes from conversations I've had and experience from actually Playing."
Maybin played one season for the Yankees in 2019, which was arguably the best season of a 15-year career that ended in 2022. He also worked for the club's YES Network in 2022 as a color commentator before being dropped this year.
It's not surprising some players have issues with the no-facial hair rule, as it is a fairly bizarre idea to tell grown men what they are allowed to have on their face while playing for your team. You can dictate many things when that rule is accompanied by seven- and eight-figure salaries, but it's hard to imagine the financial benefits outweigh the possibility of potential free agents avoiding the team.
That's not an abstract idea, by the way. Former Cy Young winner David Price, who later signed a $217 million contract with the rival Boston Red Sox, once said he would never sign with Yankees due to that policy. Former Yankees outfielder Andrew McCutchen also ripped the policy after leaving the team, saying it "takes away from our individualism."
Former All-Star Don Mattingly also once famously rebelled against the policy before becoming a proponent while managing the Miami Marlins.
If we're being real here, the Yankees' policy has survived all these years because they are the Yankees, and being the Yankees means you will hold onto anything that makes you feel special. The team might also feel pretty special, in a different way, if a much-wanted free agent ever says he docked the team's offer because of the policy after signing elsewhere.