Gene Swindoll, Gene's Page

Mississippi State freshman first baseman Cole Gordon has become a fan favorite

The best moments in life are rarely scripted. No, the more memorable occasions appear to simply happen organically. Such is the case with the magnificent mullet that adorns the head of young Diamond Dawg Cole Gordon. As legend has it, Gordon's now signature look is the handiwork of Mississippi State captain Jacob Robson.

The story from within the Bulldog baseball program, though not officially confirmed, is that during a routine visit to the house of Robson, Gordon sat down in the barber's chair and fate took over.

"It was a joke for the most part," Cole Gordon said of his tribute to Billy Ray Cyrus. "(Robson) cut it and we were all joking and laughing. I was planning on leaving it for like a day and then cutting it after before it was every really seen by anybody. That didn't work."

No, it certainly did not. Whether it be the product of some hazing from the upper classmen or something more powerful and magical, Gordon was transformed. 

"I just sort of embraced it," Gordon shared. "I guess if you're going to wear it, you better wear it with pride and that's what I have been doing,"

The business in the front and party in the back style needed to be accessorized for maximum impact. Upon the wise counsel of a family member, Gordon's look took a patriotic twist with the addition of the stars and bars bandanna.

"That was actually my brother's idea," Gordon said. "We have always worn headbands and stuff. We bought some bandannas and when he saw that American flag one, he said 'You have to wear it'. At first I didn't really know, but once I folded it and started putting it on I just felt that if you're going to wear it then you just have to rock it hard."

While not always a Bulldog regular on the field just yet. Gordon has done his part to make a contribution to the team while in the Mississippi State dugout.

"It's just something I do to sort of loosen up the tension," Gordon said of his antics during games. "It can be a stressful game, so anyway I can help everybody stay loose, I try."

Gordon's presence is felt greatest during fellow frosh Elih Marrero's at bats. As Marrero's walk up song is played, Gordon brings a Night at the Roxbury quality dance routine to Dudy Noble Field.

"I can definitely tell when (Elih) stays outside of the box a little longer, because I can't catch my breath after those," Gordon said. "I just keep going though. It all started at Trustmark and I just started bouncing back and forth.

"My dance moves aren't that great, but I guess it's kind of stuck. I brought it back here and it's just evolved."

Appearing in twenty one games on the year as either a pinch hitter or late inning replacement, Gordon has played understudy to junior first baseman Nathaniel Lowe. With his first college RBI, Gordon drove in the game winner on the road at Vanderbilt. 

Despite his role as a reserve this season, the Tampa, Florida native has become a fan favorite in this his first campaign in Starkville.

"Those weren't my original intentions," Gordon said with a grin. "I really just wanted to loosen up the team and bring whatever I could to help the team even if I wasn't going to be playing a lot.I just wanted to help in anyway that I could. That's just been a lot of fun. We have great fans and our team has a lot of personality. Everybody has just embraced it and there really hasn't been any backlash from it."

Ironically, prior to this year, Mississippi State's last regular season SEC Conference Championship came in 1989, during the hey day of the Mullet lifestyle. Never one to take credit for being a trend setter, Gordon looks back on that historic team with respect for both their achievements and the Mullets that came before him.

"I think there is something to it with us winning in '89 when Mullets were in style," Gordon said. "It's just one of those strange coincidences. I have seen pictures. Like (Tracy) Echols. He had a beautiful Mullet. Mine is nothing like his."

Echols' long locks flowed in a time before social media was invented, so all we have are the pictures from that time to hold on to. In Cole Gordon's case, Bulldog fans can interact directly with this more modern mullet on Twitter.

"I keep trying to figure out who is running that," Gordon said of the Twitter account. "Nobody will tell me. They've put out some funny stuff. I have to think that it's somebody on the team. Some of the things that they've sent out there makes me think it's somebody on the team.

"If they know, then they are being real secretive about it, because nobody will tell me."

When called upon, Gordon has done his best to deliver for the Bulldogs at the plate and in the field. With a 1.000 fielding percentage and a .333 batting average, the talented freshman is cutting his SEC teeth in hopes of taking over at first base next season.

Having the chance to help the team win games has helped the 6-5, 240 pounder gain some confidence as a college baseball player.

"Getting that hit against Vanderbilt gave me a lot of confidence," Gordon said. "Vanderbilt is a really good team and it was a really tight series all the way around. To be in that opportunity and actually get a hit was huge. 

"Now when I hear my name called, I feel like I have the chance to get in there and do something good, but even when my name isn't called, I am going to do what I can to help this team."

The only Bulldog player to start every game this season is Gordon's mentor Lowe. Having the chance to work alongside and learn from a player of Lowe's caliber has only made Gordon better.

"One of the main things he has taught me is to be patient," Gordon shared. "He is very patient and very loose in how he plays. I think he approaches the game the right way. You never really see him get too high or too low. He's a great player."

Big things are expected from Gordon in the future. While the preference would be to play every inning of every Bulldog game, Gordon understands that his time is coming. For now, the strapping first baseman is content to make contributions wherever he can even if his claim to current fame is associated with a throwback hair style.

"I like long hair, but it doesn't really look good on me," Gordon said. "I guess I will just have to stick with this for now. On campus and in class, I have had some strange looks. It used to be in style, but it's sort of faded out. I think it's funny and it's all a good time. People seem to enjoy it."

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