There was a time when every MSU baseball player had short hair and a shaved face. That, for a long time, was the requirement for players, but thanks to Trevor Fitts, that changed last year. Fitts' famous powerpoint presentation helped convince MSU coach John Cohen to let the Bulldogs, for the lack of a better phrase, "let their hair down." That relaxed grooming state for the Bulldogs would go on to lead them to the College World Series. I mean, the facts are indisputable - the Bulldogs have never not gone to the CWS when they've had long hair and beards.
With the players 'do's being a big part of the team this year, we figured — why not rank them? These are the bear/hair power rankings you want and deserve.
1. Jonathan Holder - Junior - RHP
Holder finished out the 2013 campaign as the new record holder for saves at Mississippi State, but the development underneath his cap may have been just as significant. Holder's 'Kenny Powers'-style look fueled his reputation as a free-spirited closer in the mold of Powers, Ricky Vaughn, and others. With his strong hair game, Jonathan pretty much has the number one spot sewn up until he departs for the major leagues soon. Also there are rumors that Starkville salons are selling free iTunes downloads of Johnny Cash's "God's Gonna Cut You Down" and calling it their Holder deal.
2. Wes Rea - Junior - 1B
On most teams, Wes Rea's 'do would put him at the number one spot in the beard/hair power rankings. Add to the big man's curly locks a very strong preseason beard, and the decision not to put Wes in the top spot over Holder was a tough one. Nevertheless, Wes anchors the #2 spot strongly in our initial rankings for the year. I don't see anyone overtaking him, unless of course Fitts develops a handlebar mustache.
3. Joey Swinarski - Freshman - OF
Swinarski starts off his MSU career strongly in the bear/hair power rankings, as he claims the third spot. Swinarski's third spot ranking is due to two things — 1) the windblown effect bonus, and 2) his hair is the closest we have on the team to Johnny Utah in Point Break. Strong, strong work from the freshman. I would NOT hate it if Joey used the catchphrase "Vaya Con Dios, BRAH" after every home run this year.
4. Ben Bracewell - Senior - RHP
Bracewell, the senior of these rankings and one of the leaders on this year's team, grabs the fourth spot simply based on his beard alone. That beard is on the level of many of the best MLB closers' beards that have become synonymous with the position. Well done, Ben. Jason Motte would be proud.
5. Trevor Fitts - Junior - RHP
How can we have a beard/hair power rankings and not include the man that made it all possible? While Trevor has trimmed the beard back since the CWS last summer, we'll give him this spot as a thank you for rocking at PowerPoint. Just keep it a bit more PG this year, Trev.
6. Daniel Garner - Freshman - C
Garner is our second newcomer to be included in the rankings, and he makes his way on to the list thanks to a strong head of hair in the style of Mr. Rea. So far there's been talk that Garner could be a power stick in MSU's lineup, so here's to hoping he becomes Renfroe Sassoon.
7. Alex Detz - Senior - 3B/DH
You didn't really think we could leave Detz out, did you? This is admittedly a bit low of a ranking for Detz, but the seven in front of him all make strong cases. We'll see if he can rise up the rankings later in the year.
8. Cody Walker - Junior - C
Another new face makes himself at home on our rankings in catcher Cody Walker.
9. Jake Vickerson - Junior - OF
Nick's younger brother makes the list in his first year at State. Now if he can just hit a walk-off to beat Florida and the Ed Hardy-wearing wannabe bouncer of the SEC, Kevin O'Sullivan, then he'll be my new favorite Vickerson.
10. John Cohen - Coach
I wasn't going to rank John because he's got a pretty standard cut, but then he gave me THE FACE:
[All profile photos by Bill Simmonds, courtesy of Mississippi State University | HailState.com]