SI Vault
Edited by Martin Kane
September 11, 1972
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September 11, 1972


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2) They do not steal ashtrays.

3) They do not get drunk.

4) They do not use face towels to clean shoes.

5) They do not burn sheets while smoking in bed.

6) They do not complain.


Before the 1972 season, American Legion headquarters in Indianapolis ruled that players in the Legion's baseball program must not wear their hair so long as to interfere with the proper wearing of a baseball cap or a protective batting helmet. It seemed sensible enough, but it turned out that the rulemakers were not so much worried about protective headgear as about a hairstyle they just don't like, a style that would not have been considered at all fitting—out of uniform, in fact—in World War I.

The rule dictates that the players' hair, including sideburns no longer than the bottom of the earlobe, must be well groomed and neatly trimmed about the ears and the back of the neck at all times and that players' faces must be clean-shaven.

When the season began, some officials enforced the rule and thereby lost players. Others looked the other way. But when teams from Quincy, Arlington, Milford and East Springfield met to decide the Eastern Massachusetts championship, the Legion's state baseball chairman announced that he would enforce the rule.

And so he did. Players from Arlington and Quincy were required to pass in review before him. He ruled against so much hair that, in pursuit of an outmoded conformity, the game was delayed for half an hour.

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