Matt Chapman Cuts His Slump Short, But He’s Still No Giambi
In the midst of a massive slump, the Oakland Athletics’ Matt Chapman shaved his head and is already seeing results. But that’s nothing compared to what other guys have done to get their mojo back.
Last Friday, Aug. 9, Susan Slusser of the SF Chronicle reported that Matt Chapman, in the middle of a 2-47 slide (during which the Oakland Athletics went 7-6), shaved his head.
Chapman said he didn’t do it solely because he was struggling at the plate, but that “he was hoping there was hits in it.”
And, by the grace of God, it worked: Chapman homered in his first at-bat against the White Sox on Friday and has gone 7-22 in the five games since with three bombs, one double and five runs.
It’s a unique way to break out of a slump but by no means the weirdest thing an MLB player – or even an Oakland Athletics’ player – has done to get their swing back or stay hot (several of these are pulled from this Bleacher Report article).
Mark McGwire’s Cup
Mark McGwire played for the A’s for 12 of his 17 MLB seasons, breaking the team’s rookie HR record (49) as one-half of the famed Bash Brothers and helping them to three consecutive AL pennants and a four-game sweep in the 1989 World Series.
Potentially part of the reason he was so powerful? He wore the same protective cup in all 1329 games with the Green and Gold that he did in high school. When he retired, he was 37 years old. That’s a 20-plus year marriage.
Connie Mack’s hunchback
Connie Mack managed the Philadelphia A’s for 50 seasons (1901-1950), winning five World Series and breaking every major managerial record (that all still stand) during his legendary tenure.
He did many strange things as a manager (that all seemed to work), but maybe none stranger than the hiring of hunchback Louis Van Zelst from 1910-1914 as the team’s good luck charm. Van Zelst was hired when he was 15 years old, and Mack had the players rub his hunchback before every home game (and some road games). And guess what? Mack may have been on to something because during the five seasons Van Zelst was with the team (before his passing in 1915), the A’s went to four World Series and won three (in 1910, 1911 and 1913).
Jason Giambi was an entertaining guy, from his time in Oakland to Colorado to New York.
He had a couple of different ways to get out of slumps, and one of them started with the Oakland Athletics.
In his first go-around with the A’s, the company that Giambi got his underwear from gave him a gold thong as a joke, but he ran with it. Since then, whenever he was in a slump, Giambi would slip on the gold thong Bull Durham-style and get some hits. It became somewhat of a hot commodity during his run with the Yankees as well, as the likes of Bernie Williams, Derek Jeter and Johnny Damon have worn the (hopefully consistently washed) Hall-of-Fame undergarment.
Giambi also tried his hand at manipulating his hair follicles to manipulate his BA. In 2008, in the middle of a huge slump, Giambi starting sporting a healthy mustache, one that really hit a chord with the public.
The NY Daily News went sofar as to call him a “hero” to mustache growers everywhere.
Maybe if Chappy gets into another slump (which his career shows he probably will), he can try out the stache.