Feature

The Boston Red Sox beards: A semi-factual guide to the team's best facial hair styles

Like modern day Samsons, the Red Sox derive power from their renowned hair

The Boston Red Sox are going to the American League Championship Series — and so, too, are their beards.

Most members of the team sprouted beards on a whim this year, turning an impromptu idea into a bizarre bonding exercise that has come to define the team and its season. The beards grew longer and weirder as the year wore on, with some going where beards have never gone before.

Here, a sampling of the best beards:

Mike Napoli

Beard Style: The Duck Dynasty
Description: Untamed, free-flowing. Functions as both a duck blind and natural duck habitat.

Jonny Gomes

Beard Style: Dueling MuttonchopsDescription: Each follicle is an accomplished banjo player. Occasionally sneaks away to drink whiskey by moonlight on a pond somewhere deep in Appalachia.

Dustin Pedroia

Beard Style: The Ulysses S. GrantDescription: Stately, timeless, presidential. Antonym: Dustin Pedroia.

John Lackey

Beard Style: Front MulletDescription: Business in the front, party on the sides. Looks worse the longer it grows. Cannot be paired with shirtsleeves.

Shane Victorino

Beard Style: Hawaiian GerrymanderDescription: Random, snaking tendrils. Designed to maximize weight of the chin while minimizing heft of the cheeks. May have caused government shutdown.

David Ross

Beard Style: Old Man in the MountchinDescription: Steel wool dipped in house paint. Also known as "Ol' Skunktail."

Ryan Dempster

Beard Style: The Craig BreslowDescription: Neat, close-shorn. Most commonly found on: New dads, Just For Men models, Craig Breslows.

Craig Breslow

Beard Style: The Ryan DempsterDescription: Neat, close-shorn. Most commonly found on: Brooklyn faux intellectuals, JCPenney's catalog models, Ryan Dempsters.

Jarrod Saltalamacchia

Beard Style: The InterrobangDescription: Like his name, the beard is both a question and an exclamation.

Mike Carp

Beard Style: The AhabDescription: Scraggly, sea-faring. Maddeningly fixated on the whale — the whale! The damn, white whale!

David Ortiz

Beard Style: The TetrisDescription: Fastidiously geometric, high-scoring. Grows increasingly faster as season progresses. Rumored cheat codes never proven true.

Stephen Drew

Beard Style: The GoldilocksDescription: Not too long, not too short. Not too neat, not too shaggy. Affinity for porridge, naps, bears.

Will Middlebrooks

Beard Style: The Nothing to See HereDescription: Standard scruff. Doubles as medium grit (P60-80) sandpaper. Variation on "The Meh Cop."

Clay Buchholz

Beard Style: The Wooly WillyDescription: Patchy,magnetized. Shaving requires no razor, only a brisk shake or small polarized wand.

Jon Lester

Beard Style: The Dirty LincolnDescription: Chinstrap gone awry. Brilliant orator of uncouth tales. Enjoys disrupting operas with armpit farts.

Jacoby Ellsbury

Beard Style: The Best Supporting ActorDescription: Adds seriousness to the baby-faced. Known to coo, "Hey, girl," at passersby. Had a cameo in Argo.

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