The Superstitious Grooming Routines of Baseball Players

Whether in the World Series or not, some baseball players take their superstitions a little too far—like the five MLBers inside.

MLB_groominghabits_2

If there was ever a sport where superstition seemingly plays a big role in whether a team wins or loses, it’s baseball. For fans that might mean rally caps, lucky chairs and no-speaking rules. But on-the-field superstition can hold sway over players as well: Even in matters of personal hygiene. And while skipping a shave or avoiding the clubhouse laundromat are all in good fun, some athletes take their superstitions a little too far, like the five MLBers below.

Moisés Alou, Outfielder, 1990-2008
If there’s one player who other players might have wanted to avoid during postgame handshakes, it was Alou. Instead of wearing batting gloves like his other fellow ballplayers, Alou opted for more, shall we say, organic hand protection: His own pee. He believed that the yellow liquid hardened his palms and prevented calluses. And while science disagrees, no one can argue with Alou’s .303 career batting average.

Jim Leyland, Manager, 1986-1999 and 2006-2013
We’ve all flipped our undies inside-out when we’re in a pinch, but for retired Tigers manager Leyland, that definitely wouldn’t get the job done. He went a whole 13 days without changing his skivvies during a Tigers’ 12-game win streak and proceeded to tell reporters, “They will not be washed, and I don’t give a $&*# who knows it.” That’s the spirit, Leyland.

Aubrey Huff, Third Baseman, 2000-2012
As Huff knows, when it comes to the playoffs, jock straps are for the birds. If you’re really superstitious you’d wear a lacy, red, rhinestone-encrusted thong. At least, that’s what Huff did during the Giants’ 2010 World Series run. And it worked: Huff and his “rally thong” not only went on to win the 2010 World Series, but also to perform the most epic tribute to Zoolander, well, ever.

Craig Biggio, Second Baseman, 1988-2007
Going without washing your underwear for two weeks—a la Leyland—is gross. Not cleaning a piece of equipment for your entire career is legend. Biggio, arguably the best player to ever wear a Houston Astros jersey, is one of those legends. Biggio was known for never washing his batting helmet. And by never, we mean never. Rumor even holds that Biggio once forced a batboy to re-dirtify his helmet after learning that it had been cleaned without his consent. That’s commitment.

Turk Wendell, Relief Pitcher, 1993-2004
While most baseball superstitions, like the four mentioned above, mean ditching a hygiene routine all together, Wendell’s superstition is just the opposite. During his time with the Cubs, Wendell brushed his teeth in between every inning. Hey, if it helps you win, great, because you know what they say: Cleanliness is next to baseball godliness.