Bryce Harper’s Cornrows Are More Than Just Hair

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Bryce Harper loves his hair. But while rehabbing from a leg injury that has kept him on the sidelines for nearly a month, the former NL MVP did something new with it. The new style is cornrows for the right fielder who has now tried everything: regular, flowing, platinum white. None of them have pushed the Washington Nationals into that elusive NLCS.

Bryce Harper’s Cornrows Are More Than Just Hair.

When Harper first arrived to The Show in 2012, the top of his head was yet to be at “hair-flip” length. It had style, but not the kind that could make teammates pulling his helmet off a trademark home run celebration- yet. Fortunately, he would only need to enter the dugout 22 times after circling the bases his rookie year, so there was less of a demand for hair to be flipped. But that would change.

While people around baseball recognized the importance of the 2012 Rookie of the Year’s hair to the Nationals’ luck, Harper sometimes came off as doubtful.

“Everyone wants to make a big deal with my hair,” he told Harold Reynolds in 2015. “I’ll double take in the mirror, but who doesn’t?”

But the hair could not be ignored. The Nationals made the playoffs in Harper’s first season for the first time since the Expos moved to Washington, but more needed to be done as they fell to the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLDS. Bryce was now the face of Washington baseball, so to search for more success, he decided to give fans even more of a shock when he removed his helmet.

In fact, the helmet never even needed to come off in the 2013 Home Run Derby. The mohawk Harper sported in the event stayed intact for three rounds and 24 derby dingers, yet Harper fell just short to Yoenis Cespedes.


Two years later, Harper was still wearing a mohawk but of a longer sort. This style was long enough that it could be flipped, which came to good use as the then two-time All-Star left the yard 42 times; 20 more than his previous career high. Yet once a mohawk always a mohawk, and the similar hairstyle that let him down against Cespedes in 2013 would do so again in 2015, as the NL East slipped away from the Nationals as soon as Cespedes joined the race.

In the offseason before the 2016 season, Harper made a next attempt to get his club past the NLDS. “Platinum white – that’s what the color is called,” Harper recollected. “It killed my hair.”

Perhaps going back to what didn’t work in 2012 and 2014 laid a curse on Harper’s Nats in the 2016 playoffs. For when the dreaded NLDS rolled around, the Nationals fell to the Los Angeles Dodgers. They had failed to escape the first round of Major League Baseball’s playoffs for the third time.

The 2017 season couldn’t be the same. The 24-year-old has done everything. Five All-Star games in six seasons, Rookie of the Year, MVP, he had done it all. In the 2017 playoff picture as of September 6, it seems most likely that Washington will play the Chicago Cubs in the NLDS, holding home field advantage just as they have in 2012, 2014, and 2016. And this series against the Cubs can’t go down the same way.

Harper needs a path to the National League Championship Series. And perhaps that path is through a row of corn on the top of his head.

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