New York Yankees, 1931
Behind The Beard: In 1903 a man named Benjamin Franklin Purnell started an apocalyptic religious group known as the House of David. Followers of this particular religion were forbidden to shave or cut their hair, and they weren’t supposed to have sex or drink. Purnell, loved him some baseball, and started a team, believing it would like to physical and spiritual discipline. By 1913 the team was playing competitively and by 1915 they were barnstorming across the country, playing Major League, Minor League, Negro League, and quasi-pro teams while spreading their gospel.
The team later began hiring professionals from outside the community: Satchel Paige, Grover Cleveland Alexander, Mordecai Brown and Jackie Mitchell, the girl who struck out Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, all played for the team at various points. Often when these professionals were on the team they would grow a beard as a sign of respect. Some would wear false beards.
In 1931, the House of David took on the New York Yankees. Babe Ruth wore a fake beard, either as a show of respect, or as a goof, or because he knew that 82 years later his former team, the Boston Red Sox, would all sport similar facial hair.