08/04/08 2:00 PM ET
Giambi's 'stache powerless vs. razor
Slugger bids farewell to facial hair before jetting off to Texas
By Bryan Hoch / MLB.com
After a memorable three-month period that included a "Support the 'Stache" campaign in the Bronx, Giambi bid farewell to the facial growth after the Yankees' 14-9 victory over the Angels. He dashed through the clubhouse clean-shaven and, before boarding the Yankees' bus to the airport, told reporters, "There's no more hits in it. No more hits."
Giambi had sprouted the hair as a way to shake up his season after hitting .164 with five home runs and 13 RBIs in the month of April. The hits started to come and Giambi decided the mustache would have to stay, batting .309 with 12 home runs and 33 RBIs in May and June combined. Over time, it took on an even more prominent look, as Giambi painted in hair color to turn it a shade of black.
The fashion statement forced the Yankees' video crew to alter their in-game snapshots of Giambi and even gave way to a memorable promotion at Yankee Stadium, as the club supported Giambi's candidacy in the Monster 2008 All-Star Game Final Vote by distributing 20,000 false black mustaches to fans before a July 9 game.
"I didn't really think I was ever going to turn into a fashion icon for a mustache, to be honest with you," Giambi said that day. "It started out as fun. Johnny Damon and I would do things like this in Oakland, and we were both struggling and we talked about it. We just kind of ran with it.
"We can't grow anything below the bottom lip, so the next closest thing to do would be to grow a mustache. It's been humbling that the Yankees organization has jumped on it."
The American Mustache Institute, a St. Louis, Mo.-based organization, even pledged its support for Giambi, urging fans to place their votes based upon his "powerful lip fur." Giambi referred to his mustache as a throwback to the glory days of the 1970s and '80s, mentioning Goose Gossage, Keith Hernandez, and of course, former Yankees first baseman Don Mattingly.
"I always used to tease Donnie because I grew up idolizing Donnie with his mustache, and when he was over here as a coach, he shaved it off," Giambi said. "I never looked at him the same."
In the end, Giambi came up short to Tampa Bay's Evan Longoria in the Final Vote tally, but he was moved by the support from the Yankees' fan base.
Of late, however, the magic had waned. Since July 3, Giambi is batting .182 with two home runs and 10 RBIs. He had only one hit in the Yankees' four-game series split against the Angels, including an 0-for-3 showing on Sunday that moved him to wet down a razor.
Bryan Hoch is reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.