World Series MVP Steve Pearce shaved off his playoff beard Thursday morning at Gillette Shaving Headquarters in South Boston, carrying on a championship tradition that many other Boston athletes– including Zdeno Chara, David Ortiz, Tim Thomas and Julian Edelman– have done before him.
Pearce has been growing his beard throughout the postseason, a superstition that a lot of athletes take part in out of fear that shaving will throw off their game.
“You don’t want to mess with a hot streak,” Pearce said. “We were playing pretty good baseball so I just kept growing it… We’re holding up the trophy, aren’t we?”
Pearce was joined by a Gillette employee who had also vowed to shave his beard if the Red Sox won, and the two men were shaved onstage by professional barbers to benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Boston, which received a donation of $50,000 from Gillette, presented by Pearce himself.
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The shave was an awkward few minutes for the World Series MVP, who said he’s never been shaved by another person before.
“I have a nine-month-old at home, so he’s probably not going to recognize me when I get back,” Pearce joked.
Pearce’s six-year-old daughter will probably remember the year her dad was named World Series MVP, but Pearce plans on telling his nine-month-old son about it when he’s old enough.
“I’m going to say, ‘Hey, your dad got to do something special as part of the World Series team,’ and he’s going to know what hard work’s all about,” Pearce said. “My dad instilled hard work into me and I’m going to do it to him, and I’m going to tell him that hard work pays off.”
The month of October has been a wild one for all of the Red Sox but especially for Pearce, who was traded to Boston in June and named MVP after just four months.
“I picked a heck of a good time to get hot,” Pearce said. “It’s surreal, a dream come true. That’s what it’s all about. You put in so much work in the offseason, during the season, injuries, slumps, the ups and downs and to be holding up that trophy at the end of the year, celebrating with your teammates and then winning the MVP. It was a great reward for a fun year.”
Despite growing up in Florida, Pearce is a lifelong Red Sox fan. His father, a Massachusetts native, influenced their family to root for the Sox despite no longer living there.
“The things that made the team special, I saw it when I was on the opposing team,” Pearce said. “You see these guys and you see how well they play, how much fun they have. Then when I got traded over, you saw the connection that they had in the clubhouse and you saw why it translated to the field.”
The first baseman’s first World Championship has been a longtime coming, considering he’s spent time suiting up for each of the five AL East team’s during his 12 year career. He got to ride in Boston’s duck boats for the first time as a champion with his team Wednesday morning, capping off an exhausting playoff run and an outstanding season.
“Wow, there are a lot of Boston fans,” Pearce said about Wednesday’s championship parade. “These are the greatest fans on the planet and I got to experience it firsthand… It’s been very crazy.”
So what’s next for the MVP?
“My plans are just to go home and rest,” Pearce said. “That’s what I’m going to do and I’m going to try my hardest to get back [to Boston] next year and I just hope it works out.”