JORDAN, Minn. (KMSP) - Out on the baseball field in Jordan, dedication looks a bit bushy.
“I get a lot of people saying I should shave, but I don’t want to,” said Paul Buss.
His name is Paul Buss, but to fans of Jordan Brewers baseball, he’s often referred to by a different name.
“He’s called Santa Claus by the kids here,” said Scott Hollingsworth, Brewers player and manager. “They ask where his reindeer are.”
“It started out that I would shave if we ever won a state tournament, but that hasn’t happened, so I still have my beard,” said Buss.
Nearly four years have gone by since Buss has picked up a razor, but in that time, at the age of 56, he still picks up a bat for the Jordan Brewers - something he’s done for 37 years. While the dedication to the beard is impressive, the dedication to his team is the real story.
“He’s a guy that takes these kids under his wing,” said Hollingsworth. “He’s been through the ropes. He’s won three state titles in this town, so I think he’s really taking that dad approach.”
“He’s on almost year forty for us and he still shows up all the time and probably throws the most batting practice on the team and finds ways to contribute that way,” said Steve Beckman, Jordan Brewers second baseman.
“I feel lucky to be here, to play in this park – I do,” said Buss. “I feel lucky to play in this park that I was able to grow up and play most of my career in this park.”
Don’t let his look or his age fool you though, the joy of making good contact at the plate is what makes him tick.
“Couple weeks back, he hit a game-winning three-run homer for us here and I was happening to be coaching first base at the time, I don’t know how I saw the teeth through the beard, but he was the happiest guy around,” said Hollingsworth. “I think the whole place went ballistic for him hitting that home run. It was unbelievable.”
“I got to admit I had fun going around the bases because it had been a while since I’ve hit one out,” said Buss.
The beard has made him a celebrity around town and even if Jordan wins the state title, Buss says it might stick around a while longer. He hasn’t gotten tired of it yet and after 37 years on the diamond, the Brewers, and the city of Jordan certainly haven’t gotten tired of him either.
“I’m waiting for one morning to wake up and say, ‘It’s time’ and I haven’t come to that point yet,” said Buss. “I guess I like the look.”