“As 22-year-old Bryan [Harper] carves his own path through the Washington Nationals organization as a pitcher on its short-season Class A affiliate, his identity as Bryce Harper’s brother persists,” James Wagner wrote last summer.
“I’ve grown to embrace it,” Bryan said at the time. “I’m proud as hell. I’m never going to be bitter that I’m Bryce’s brother. There’s no doubt in my mind that I’ll ever be bitter about that. I’ll never be jealous of that. Honestly, it’s a great title for me because the fact that my brother is so successful and I’m Bryce’s brother, that’s a great thing.”
Well, I’m glad he doesn’t mind being referred to as Bryce Harper’s Brother. But pretty soon he’s going to be carrying an even heavier burden, that of Bryan Harper’s Mustache’s Owner. Because this, truly, is a world-class, jaw-dropping piece of baseball facial hair.
Some background, via Byron Kerr:
Bryan throws a fastball, change-up and a slider. He will be the lone southpaw reliever in the Single-A Suns’ bullpen. Manager Tripp Keister said don’t read into Harper being Hagerstown’s only lefty reliever as they don’t pitch match-ups as much at this level as they instead concentrate on innings pitched.
And when you meet Bryan today, he is an imposing figure at 6-foot-5, but you also can’t miss that mustache. He has been working on a legendary Rollie Fingers-style handlebar mustache for five months.
“People tell me I have to keep it until something goes awry, like a losing streak or something like that. It will probably be here the whole year,” Bryan Harper said. “I have been compared to the 1920s barehanded knuckler boxer.”
Kerr also reported that Nats’ minor-leaguers can have mustaches but not beards, and so “the Hagerstown roster is filled with guys with mustaches.” I can’t imagine any can compare to this. These pictures come from Tuesday’s Hagerstown media day.