A Final Ode to Mike Napoli’s Beard

It was the last real holdout from the #GetBeard era. And now it's gone.

Associated Press

Associated Press

One by one, other beards fell. Still, there was Napoli.

The once grizzly Dustin Pedroia invested in some clippers. Still, looking like a French-Canadian beaver trapper, there was Napoli.

The mighty David Ortiz sold his beard clippings on eBay for charity. Still, scowling like a forgotten 19th Century president, there was Napoli.

The untamed Johnny Gomes, one of the last, most iconic holdouts, got traded to the Oakland Athletics. We called it the “real, final end to the #GetBeard era.” And still. Running around like a hemophilia-curing Russian mystic, there was Napoli.

The first baseman had one of the most fearsome growth’s of the Sox’s #GetBeard era. And while others left their beards behind last October, and with them, the ability to win games, Napoli kept his up. “Mike Napoli is going to kill me,” said Shane Victorino as he publicly shaved his beard for charity. But now, with the Sox a resolute 25 games back in the AL East, at last, Mike Napoli’s cheeks have come out to play.

As a strange, baby-faced apparition took the field this week, the Red Sox official account tweeted, “Yes that is still Mike Napoli.”

But is it? Who is Mike Napoli if he doesn’t look like a Mormon prophet stranded in the desert? Even his mother has concerns. “It became a part of him,” she told Boston.com.

Alas, this sounds the bittersweet final note to a happier time in Red Sox history. The beards long ago lost their magical power to bring victories. But when times got dark, just seeing Napoli’s reminded us of the better days. With the season coming to a close, there’s not much need for that anymore. So thanks for the memories, Napoli.