WACO, Texas (KWTX) Along with winning quite a bit, the 1999 and 2019 Baylor baseball teams had follicle-related chemistry, but the similarities didn't stop there.
Prior to the Los Angeles Regional earlier this month, everyone on the more millenial roster decided to dye their hair.
While the unnatural hair colors had nothing to do with the team being eliminated with losses to Loyola Marymount and UCLA, the colored cuts is just one example of how the team was able to work together on their way to a 35-19 record.
"We needed something to kind of bond over," Bears first baseman Andy Thomas said. "I think over the last couple of days, this is really a great thing we've bonded over."
"It's really not my style or my thing being from very, very south Texas," said pitcher Kyle Hill, who was drafted in the 10th round by the Seattle Mariners. "I was the last one to hold out, (but) I wasn't going to be that guy. Big team guy, figured I'd do it and have fun. I'm glad I did it."
The Bears of 1999 did a similar team-bonding experiment. Two decades ago, that Baylor team went with extended sideburns, otherwise known as chops, on their run to a Super Regional, where they lost to Oklahoma State in a decisive game three in Waco.
Former Baylor infielder Preston Underdown (1997-2000) said some of his teammates started growing them during the conference tournament, but not all of them were follicly-gifted on the face.
Current head coach Steve Rodriguez, much like former head coach Steve Smith (1995-2015), approached Father Time's unrelenting hair theft with a sense of humor.
"There's only a certain amount of time in your life when you're a player that you can do these things," Rodriguez said. "I want them to enjoy it. If they feel together as a team, then that's what really matters. It's going to grow out, they'll be able to cut it, so it doesn't bother me. I always tell people, when it comes to hair, they can do whatever they want because I don't have it."
Smith, asked about his 1999 postseason look by former KWTX sports reporter Robert Flores, referenced a movie inspiration for his look.
"This is my Bruce Willis Die Hard look."
The 1999 Baylor Bears finished with 50 wins, a total that is still a school record. That's one more victory than the 2012 team that not only fell one win shy of a trip to the College World Series as well, but similarly dropped a winner-take-all Super Regional game in Waco to end the season.
Baylor had six players selected in the 2019 MLB Draft -- Shea Langeliers (1st round -- Atlanta), Davis Wendzel (CB Round A -- Texas), Cody Bradford (6th round -- Texas), Kyle Hill (10th round -- Seattle), Josh Bissonette (31st round -- Pittsburgh) and Luke Boyd (38th round -- LA Angels).
In 1999, the Bears also had six players selected by MLB teams -- Jason Jennings (1st round -- Colorado), Jon Topolski (4th round -- Houston), Eric Nelson (8th round -- Kansas City), Mark Outlaw (15th round -- Philadelphia), Bryan Loeb (29th round -- NY Mets) and Jaime Bubela (31st round -- Boston).