Sometimes you see an athlete that just looks right.

Writer Paul Lukas explains this idea in a February, 2019 Uni Watch blog post. "I was talking with a friend a few weeks ago about football," he says. "We agreed that whatever else you might think of Tom Brady, he looks like a quarterback. His posture, his body proportions, the way he stands tall in the pocket — there’s a physical charisma to him. He looks like the dictionary definition of the word quarterback, straight out of central casting."

You may not agree with Paul's choice, but I'm sure you understand the sentiment. I certainly do.

I'm more of a baseball guy, and when it comes to baseball, in my mind the "right look" is someone with with good facial hair, broad shoulders, and stirrups. Their face would give a tough-yet-wise vibe; of someone that chews tobacco and drinks beer and gets dirty, but that, in their spare time, thinks deeply and read books.

You see this player and a scene almost gets painted in your head...

Off a cobblestone street in the old part of town, you step into the smoky haze of a dive bar. Low lights glow off the jukebox, which twangs sad country. There's barflies dotting the tables. There might even be sawdust on the floor. You grab a seat at the bar next to a ruggedly handsome man. He's got big shoulders that move big arms that move big hands that grab cheap beer. Brow furrowed. Moustachioed. Hair thinning, but it suits him. Wearing denim. There's a copy of The Old Man and the Sea face down on the counter. 

He stands up. "Time to get to the park?" says the barkeep.

"Yep," says the man. 

Later that night, this man, who turns out to be Major League Baseball star Kirk Gibson, hits a very important home run for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Yes, Gibson meets the description for me.

Now I can't say whether the guy actually drank beer at bars before games, or whether he's a voracious reader. By all accounts he was an intense ballplayer, but has now mellowed into the role of colour commentator. To me it doesn't really matter; it's more that Gibson is a muse for my own daydreaming. 

Another guy that fits the bill for me is Jim "Catfish" Hunter. And Luis Tiant. All... have moustaches. Apparently that's what I look for in a ballplayer. Generally I think it's the right look that I want, more so than a certain style of play.

At least when it comes to baseball. With other sports, like hockey or soccer, the movement of a player can captivate. Think Wayne Gretzky; it's not the way he wore his helmet – can you really wear a helmet well? – it's how he weaved in and out of the opposition, curving around the post before fooling the goalie and rippling the net. 

In baseball, the action is more direct. Pitcher throws, batter hits. The beauty is in the details; how the uniform hangs on the player, or his facial hair. Always the facial hair. 

Leave a comment