Rollie Fingers

Roland Glen “Rollie” Fingers (Born August 25, 1946), follows last week’s induction of Learned Hand in that it involves a man with a “handy” name whose reputation relied largely on what he did with his dexterous digits. But unlike Hand, who possessed beautiful (and bountiful) eyebrows, Fingers is famous for his handlebar mustache.

Rollie sporting his famous ‘stache.

Rollie (pronounced “raw-lee”) had an exceptional 18-year career as a right-handed relief pitcher for the Oakland Athletics, San Diego Padres, and Milwaukee Brewers, compiling a 114-118 record with 341 saves, 944 games pitched, and a magnificent 2.90 ERA. These statistics garnered him a well-deserved induction into baseball’s Hall of Fame in 1992, and he remains one of the only relief pitchers to be so honored.

Although his pitching statistics and the way he revolutionized modern relief pitching are noteworthy, it is for his handlebar mustache that Fingers will likely be best remembered.

Fingers originally grew the ‘stache in order to get a $300 bonus ($300! My how professional sports has changed) from zany and controversial Athletics owner Charlie O. Finley, who offered the prize to the player who could best grow and maintain his mustache at the start of the 1972 season, in an attempt to sell more tickets (Finley even had a “Mustache Day” at the ballpark that year, where anyone with a mustache was granted free entry).

Fingers, of course, won the contest (how could he not?), but, unlike the rest of his teammates, who shaved off their facial hair shortly after, Fingers kept the mustache, and it became his trademark. When offered a contract by the Cincinnati Reds (who had a “clean cut” policy for players) at the end of his career, Fingers responded to the offer by saying “Well, you tell [Reds owner] Marge Schott to shave her Saint Bernard, and I’ll shave my mustache.”

Whether it was by gaining the upper hand on opposing batters or growing a mustache that is more than a hair above the rest, the 6’4” Rollie Fingers stands tall in the pantheon of professional ballplayers.

Special Announcement!

Next week, we will be unveiling a new page on our blog: Funny Names Theory. This page will compile all of the theories that we, some of the world’s most eminent nameophiles, have developed in an effort to advance the rapidly-growing scientific field of funnynameology. To celebrate this unveiling, we will be posting previews of some of our theories over the weekend. The best part: in recognition of your enlightened readership (and leadership), you get to choose the theories we preview – but only based on their names.

About Rob

Huge San Diego Padres fan, working as an economic consultant in Pasadena, CA. Contributor to the Funny Names Blog.
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31 Responses to Rollie Fingers

  1. beatrix mana says:

    Thanks for a bit of trivia,Now I can ask my boys if they know Rollie Fingers.

    • Dave says:

      He’s actually a great “litmus test” for whether someone knows about baseball history. He’s obscure enough that not everyone knows about him (unlike Mickey Mantle, Yogi Berra, Lou Gehrig, Hank Aaron, etc.) but prominent enough that a non-diehard will still be able to identify him.

      Plus, he had the greatest mustache in the history of pro sports, and here at the funny names blog, we all genuinely love mustaches!

      • Rob says:

        Well said, Dave! Yes, we are definitely all mustache lovers.

        • Dave says:

          It’s definitely true. Tomorrow’s post (one of my best so far) features a guy with an exceptional mustache, and a rival of his with an exceptional beard.

          Funny name + Mustache = Awesome

  2. One of the great epic ‘staches of all time.

    • Dave says:

      Definitely. When I think of a wax handlebar mustache, Rollie Fingers is the first guy who comes to mind.

  3. Marie Overfors says:

    Your piece on Rollie Fingers deserves a big hand! Let us all wax on about the glories of his mustache. 😉

  4. Did not know that is how he got that stash….

  5. He looks rather bonkers.

  6. --Rick says:

    Loved watching him pitch; even when he beat the Red Sox.

    • Dave says:

      Interesting fact: Rollie lives in San Diego now, and I actually went to grade school with his son for a year. Unfortunately, I never got to meet Mr. Fingers himself… 😦

      • --Rick says:

        That’s a shame. I was at a game one time at Fenway Park and sat just to the side of the dugout near the on deck circle. He was out before the game started chatting with just about anyone who would listen and I remember thinking what a character he was. Hilarious!

  7. Joe Pineda says:

    There’s no Rollie Moustache joke here. I should be disappointed.

  8. Ahh one of my favorite pitchers of all time, nothing was better than the Oakland A’s in the 70’s, Catfish Hunter Rollie Fingers, Vida Blue etc, a funny name bloggers field of dreams as it were

  9. Paws To Talk says:

    How fitting the his last name is Fingers and he was a baseball pitcher. 🙂
    Bella and DiDi

    • Dave says:

      Haha, I know. We’ve been on a weird “body parts” kick lately, with Learned Hand, Ed Balls, and Rollie Fingers all within the past week. Tomorrow’s post is an interesting change of pace, and a very entertaining one.

  10. aFrankAngle says:

    Well done … as I Reds fan, I forgot about the team approaching Fingers. FYI: About 4 years ago while on a cruise, I met another famous handlebar moustache – Ben Davidson.

  11. I remember seeing him pitch for the Brewers – thanks for the memories !

    • Dave says:

      Just going back through a series of old posts in honor of our 100th post, and ran upon this comment. Sorry for taking 1.5 months to reply, but thanks for the comment!

  12. Staying with a sports theme there was a hockey player named Bart Crashley, a defenseman who played during the 1970s. The only sport his name is better suited for is auto racing.

  13. Pingback: Benedict Cumberbatch « The Blog of Funny Names

  14. Pingback: Funny Names In the News 36, Brought to You by Dave’s Leading Ladies | The Blog of Funny Names

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