THE BURT AWARDS SHOWCASE CATEGORY: BEST HAIR
From now until October, 27th, the hard-working staff at Better Off Red is spending a day on the blog showcasing each voting category for The Burt Awards. These blog posts will prove to be erroneous and based on falsehoods and are intended for entertainment purposes only. They are NOT to be taken seriously. Today’s showcase category is Best Hair. To vote for The Burt Awards, click here, here and here. Winners will be announced at the first ever Burt Awards Ceremony on October 28th.
Before the Wright Brothers invented coach air travel, they piloted the 1869 Red Stockings into the unchartered skies of professional “base ball”. Ever since, Cincinnati has been the epicenter for America’s Pastime and a hub for Delta Airlines. What the Wrights also brought to Cincinnati and specifically to the fields on which they played (besides Small Pox, muskets and fist-fighting), were the first professional “base ball” hairstyles.
One of the Wright brothers was named “Harry”, so he naturally took great pride in maintaining and revolutionizing his coiffure. “Handsome” and “pretty” hadn’t yet been invented in the late 1800s, so Harry, like his contemporaries, had to make do with what was available – specifically, hair.
Where George was a better base ball player, Harry was a better beautician. It was a perfect fit for the Red Stockings. The men came to Union Grounds to watch George’s hitting and fielding talents while women showed up to see Harry’s seductive whiskers. Attendance boomed.
It all came crashing down on the Wrights in 1871. George underwent Tommy John Surgery and Harry invented and donned the controversial “corn rows” hair-style. What once was a team of talent and beauty had become damaged with split ends.
The Wrights were booed out of Cincinnati and headed north to Dayton where they, along with their friend Patt, had an Air Force base named for them.
Soon after, George Anderson took over the Reds and implemented changes to the ball club’s hair policy (or lack thereof). What was once bouffants and beehives became close and cropped. Even men and women in the Reds front office were asked to shave their beards and moustaches and to wear their hair in a “flat-top” style. Anderson wanted the club to look utopian. That is, until he saw the musical Hairspray.
Hairspray took a super firm hold on Anderson, inspiring him to change his name to “Sparky” and move away to Michigan to become a tiger trainer. Marge Schott, Anderson’s pitching coach in the 70s, took over the Reds and immediately liberated the strict team hair policy.
Today, Reds players Bronson Arroyo, Johnny Cueto and Sam LeCure are at the forefront of baseball hair fashion in the Queen City. Arroyo with his long wavy blonde locks, Cueto with his terrifying dreadlocks and LeCure with his innovative moustache are all changing the way players wash, rinse and repeat.
Even mascot Rosie Red has done wonders in creating a beautiful hairstyle for women with over-sized baseball heads. And speaking of over-sized heads, Reds broadcaster Marty Brennaman has been a fixture in the Reds organization with one of science’s truly remarkable “quiff” cuts. It helps that Brennaman has his hair cut and styled by NASA.
So when casting your votes this month in The Burt Awards’ Best Hair category, keep all of this in mind. Make Harry Wright proud. Thank you.