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What’s in a Name?


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What’s in a name? Plenty, if it happens to be your name. Or in this case, mine.

The gent in question is one Paul Lukas, a Hungarian-born actor who emigrated to America in the 1920s and gained citizenship in 1933. He appeared in a bunch of movies and even won the “Best Actor” Oscar for Watch on the Rhine in 1943, but he was primarily a character actor and has largely disappeared from public memory. So while there are tons of photos of him floating around, I don’t often see his name in print. And when I do, like in the beer ad shown above (which my friend Tim recently found in a 1951 issue of Life and mailed to me), I always find it a bit startling. Like, hey, that’s me! Except it isn’t.

It’s amazing how we can learn to identify so closely, so emotionally, with a simple sequence of letters. When I was in second grade, my teacher mistakenly told me that I had a middle initial (it’s a long story). I wrote out my name with the added initial, and — I don’t know how else to say this — it looked wrong. It was no longer my name; it looked like someone else’s name. All because of the addition of one letter. I was seven years old at the time.

When I came home from school that day and told my parents about this, they said, “Your teacher is wrong — you don’t have a middle name or initial. But if you’d like to have one — or if you want to change your first name — you can.” On the one hand, this was very cool and progressive of them; on the other, it’s kind of a heavy trip to dump into the lap of a seven-year-old. Change my name? I couldn’t even understand the concept. How could my name be any other name than the name that was my name? It was like telling me I could be a girl, or a dog, or a chair. (Yes, I was a bit of a literalist, even by youth standards.) So although I kind of pretended to mull it over, I knew right away that I’d be sticking with what I had. To this day, I’m mystified by people who legally change their names, whether for reasons of marriage, assimilation, or whatever. Maybe this is just a failure of imagination on my part, but I can’t wrap my head around it.

Paul Lukas the actor had no such compunctions. His real name was Pál Lukács, but he changed it when he started working in Hollywood. My parents have a more flexible concept of identity, too: My father’s given surname was Lewkowitz, but he and my Mom changed it to Lukas about a year after they were married (another long story). This means my mother had three surnames in a very short period: her maiden name, which was Tanzer; then Lewkowitz; and then Lukas. Personally, this would have made my head spin, but my Mom says it was no big deal.

My parents were aware of the actor Paul Lukas, but they didn’t name me specifically after him. When I learned about him as I was growing up, I loved knowing that I had the same name as someone semi-famous. Name pride. Later, I learned that he was kind of a McCarthyite dick, involved with HUAC, MPAPAI, and all that other blacklist-y bullshit. Name shame. (I recently mentioned this to my Mom, who said she hadn’t been aware of it. “If we had known, we might not have used that name for you,” she said. “But it’s such a nice name. You don’t mind, do you?” No, I don’t. At other times she’s told me that she’d have given me a longer name if she’d known I was going to become a journalist, because she always thinks my byline looks too small.)

There has never been an NFL, MLB, NBA, or NHL player with the surname Lukas (Jerry Lucas, Maurice Lucas, Ray Lucas, Chuck Luksa, and Mark Lukasiewicz are all close but no stogie), much less the full name Paul Lukas. So I’ve never had the fun of seeing an athlete wearing my name. But many of you have no doubt experienced this. Is it fun? Is it weird? Do you even think about it at all?

Anyway: There’s a uni-related component to that beer ad. As you can see, the brew is Carling’s Red Cap Ale, and all of their ads in the 1940s and ’50s featured a red cap (including several like the Paul Lukas ad, with the awkward-looking combination of a cap perched atop a mortarboard). Is that a jockey’s cap? Something else? I’d be interested in knowing the story behind it.

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Collector’s Corner

By Brinke Guthrie

Christmas is getting close. Have any pro sports ornaments on the tree? I’ve had this Aikman figure for awhile, as well as this Garfield Bengals ornament, this Giants World Series ornament, and this Niners helmet. So in the spirit of the season, if you’re a Dolphins fan, these helmet lights will look terrific on the tree.

In other eBay finds this week:

• Had this … a 1975 NFL Media Information Book. No idea how I got it. I was always writing to NFL Properties, trying to weasel stuff out of them, and that’s probably how I ended up with it.

• Frank Gifford put out his own NFL guide in 1967. Who knew?

• Here’s a nice old 1960s AFL pennant display card package, courtesy of relentless reader Michael Clary.

• If it’s 1970s NFL and it’s IHOP, I love it. Therefore I present this 1974 NFL IHOP board game. (The auction has ended, but maybe they’ll re-list it.)

• You can’t shoot like Pistol Pete could, but you can wear his shoes. You’ll need a ball to go with those sneakers, so try this 1970s ABA game ball!

• Gotta love this: game-worn Buccaneers Creamsicle socks from the 1970s or ’80s. The seller also has a pair for the Colts.

• My bobble of the week: Check out this 1960s Buffalo Bills bobblehead bank. Staying in the 1960s, here’s one for PL. And have you ever seen a bobble with this kinda look?

• One final holiday thought for this week: As someone who has a ton of NFL Films music, I can totally recommend these as a great Christmas gift.

Seen something on eBay that you think would make good Collector’s Corner fodder? Send your submissions here.

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Membership update: The new Marlins uniforms haven’t hit the field yet, but we have our first membership card based on them. That card, which ordered by Seth Weiss, is one of several that have been added to the membership card gallery. The printed/laminated versions of these latest cards should ship out by the end of this week.

Incidentally, if you click to the last page of the card gallery, you’ll see that seven of the past 28 designs have an orange background (plus an additional one has orange lettering/numbering, and another has orange trim). I’m always amused when these chromatic trends pop up out of nowhere.

As always, if you want to order an orange card — or any other color — you can sign up here.

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Uni Watch News Ticker: Neglected to mention yesterday that one of America’s best uni-related events took place here in NYC over the weekend: SantaCon. ”¦ New BFBS alternate for the Heat and a new “50 Years in the Bay Area” patch for the Warriors. I’ll have more to say about these next week. ”¦ I assume most of you had better things to do last night than watch the Rams/Seahawks game (like, say, take a nap, clean the toilet, slit your wrists, etc.), so here are the uni-salient points: Marshawn Lynch found a way to incorporate neon green into his socks; several of the Rams, including “quarterback” Sam Bradford, wore solid-white socks; and Pete Carroll has one gnarly-looking finger (screen shot by John Wokas). ”¦ Here’s another, more surprising case of a football player who doesn’t wear gloves: LSU running back Michael Ford. Seriously, when’s the last time you saw a running back playing bare-handed? “He was the same way in high school,” says Joseph Adams. … Love this old shot of the Pearl Harbor women’s basketball team (from Gretchen Mittelstaedt). ”¦ Reprinted from yesterday’s comments: Baylor may have a new helmet for the Gasoline Bowl. … Also from yesterday: Some rumblings about Syracuse possibly scrapping the blue jerseys. … Here’s a really interesting article about why the NFL has no white cornerbacks and no black punters or placekickers. Among other things, it mentions that NFL rosters used to have black player quotas, which I hadn’t been aware of. Fascinating read. ”¦ Wesley College uses some laughably tiny TV numbers (from Jesse Meade). … Great timing after the Derek Boogaard articles: a series of blood-spattered hockey enforcer cards (thanks, Kirsten). … Striped socks with a built-in pocket? That’s a win-win (big thanks to Gordon Blau). … Remember last Friday’s post about bicycle head badges? Bench coach emeritus Bryan Redemske has found a site that sells custom head badge designs. Lots of possibilities there — your favorite team’s logo, a dupe of your tattoo, a Uni Watch design, etc. … Syracuse basketball player Dion Walters has been wearing some orange “SU” socks (from Michael Alper). … Yet another story about a high school hoops team that was assessed a technical foul for a uniform violation (from Pete Lootens). … Montana and Nike reportedly had an all-black Amateur Pacifist uniform ready to go, but it never made it onto the field (from Leo Thornton). … New anniversary jersey for the Colorado Mammoth. Note that they’re using their anniversary logo as the main jersey crest, instead of just having a patch (from John Romero). … A bunch of Nike’s new international soccer kits have leaked. “I assume this is Nike’s fix of the sweat-weight issues that athletes from Rafael Nadal to Lionel Messi have had with the Dri-Fit material,” says David Haberman. … Oooh, this is awesome: a basketball jersey with a nut and a bolt as its chest insignia. Wish we knew the story behind that one. … Scroll down to see the really unusual collar on this curling sweater. … I really like these old-school sports illustration decals…. Kevin Tiessen was watching a Charlie Brown video and noticed that Peppermint Patty’s bedroom was covered with pennants for California schools. This doesn’t necessarily mean that Charlie Brown and his crew all lived in California, of course, but it’s the most specific geographical reference I can ever recall having seen in “Peanuts.” ”¦ Kevin Plank is claiming that Under Armour is about to strike a deal with a Big 10 football school, which is leading to rampant speculation regarding which team will have the honor of wearing the Maryland flag, or whatever.

Comments (226)

    Wow! Paul Lukas (the actor) beat out Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca for that Best Actor statue, impressive!

    But yes, unfortunately, he was a McCarthyite dick…(sigh)

    It is strange, for those of us with rather unusual names, to share them with someone in the public eye.

    At least you were separated by generations; my nomengänger is a contemporary. Can’t tell you how many old friends and colleagues from years past have looked me up on facebook after confusing me with link.

    Roy was a longstanding family name on my father’s mother’s side, but fortunately, after marrying a man named Rogers and being great with child in 1940, she insisted on holding out a while to see if that cowboy actor remained famous and named my father Jim.

    Growing up with a common surname, I was often teased by association (Mister, Buck, Ginger, even Will) with people I’m not related to. Whereas the notable ancestor I do have, for whom I’m named, is basically unknown to all but a few history buffs and U.S. Army soldiers. Which is not such a bad thing, since the guy was a bit of a tool who sided with the crown in the Revolution.

    What does kind of bug me is how on occasion, someone with the historical-typo spelling of my name will come along, get famous, and make my life administratively difficult. Three years ago, nobody ever misspelled my last name. Thanks to the Green Bay Packers, I now have to say “Rogers, without a D,” or else face a 50/50 chance of having my name mispelled.

    Paul, have you spent any time in countries where the language doesn’t use the Latin alphabet? I’m wondering because I don’t have any particular attachment to the specific letters in my name at all. In Japanese my name had to get distorted a bit to fit into their syllabary, and in Chinese I had to choose characters that sound similar (I went with “conquering horse”). When I studied Spanish and Italian, I didn’t mind in the least that my name became “Marco”, or “Marcus” when I took Latin.

    I think you should welcome Ray Lucas into the Lukas fold. Spelling is pretty arbitrary in English, and since they’re pronounced the same, they’ll be exactly the same in Greek, Latin, Arabic, Japanese, etc. Be inclusive!

    Paul, have you spent any time in countries where the language doesn’t use the Latin alphabet?


    I think you should welcome Ray Lucas into the Lukas fold.

    Our family has always had a little chip on our shoulder about the Lucas vs. Lukas thing. We prefer it our way!

    I agree with Paul..He’s not the only one with a chip on his shoulder about correct/incorrect letters in his last name. I’ve spent an entire lifetime trying to remind people not to forget the “C” in HIRSCH.. .its HIRSCH..not HIRSH…just ask Elroy ‘Crazy Legs’ the correct spelling!

    That Montana Pro Combat jersey is photoshopped. If you look carefully, just below the shoulder pads, part of the wings from the Ducks’ cowboy classic jerseys is still visible. Also, the compression sleeves feature the numbers that Oregon wore, and, if I’m not mistaken, the uniform numbers are also in Belloti Bold, a font unique to the University of Oregon. I’m surprised the folks over at Nikeblog were fooled by this one, they usually have all of their business together with false reports.

    Dang I wanted to hate them this week. But I guess it makes sense. Why would Nike make a Pro Combat uni for a 1-AA squad…even a “successful” 1-AA program like Montana?

    Interesting story, Paul. So it was a case of Americanizing a last name? (which can be a sore subject). My first & last names are two very common ones, tho the only time I’ve ever seen a famous one was some soccer player (whom apparently is dead at age 51 recently) who was on the Seattle Sounders. It’s funny how when I randomly hear my last name on TV the ears inevitably perk up. Tho if I had to pick one favorite famous one (albeit fictional), it would be “Norm”.

    And having a middle name has been basically pointless in life. I don’t ever use it for anything.

    So it was a case of Americanizing a last name? (which can be a sore subject).

    I didn’t say it was that, and I didn’t say it was a sore subject. I said it was a long story. Which it is. Which is why I won’t be going into it here.

    Just like you Paul, I have no middle name. I am also a Jr., you don’t know the number of times that the “J” from Junior has been used as a middle intial.

    Middle names are indeed nothing but trouble and I wish I didn’t have one. I live abroad and live in a non-middle-name-having culture, and they can’t seem to deal with the idea of someone having an auxiliary name that they never really need. I use my first and last names, like everyone else here, but will bave forms sent back to me because I “got my name wrong”. No, idiots, I don’t need to use that middle name. Your culture doesn’t use them, and in the culture I was born into, they’re optional. So just pretend it doesn’t exist!

    Wow, I’ve never heard people express anything negative about middle names before. I’ve always kinda wished I had one, although it doesn’t feel right to take one after the fact.

    I’m also left-handed. Somehow left-handedness and middle namelessness feel similar, or of a piece — not so uncommon as to be freakish, but just uncommon enough to mark me as slightly off-center. I do like that.

    My two brothers weren’t given middle names either (yet another long-ish story). But I’m the only left-handed person in the family.

    My mom was left-handed. She grew up in a very remote area of Central PA and went to an eight grade one-room school (1932-1940). Her teacher tolerated NO left-handers and forced her (and other that were southpaws) to write right-handed.

    She, though, has a middle name (Helen).

    Does your brother have a middle name?

    My sister-in-law doesn’t have a middle name, the only one in her family. We joke about getting her one for Christmas or her birthday whenever we get stuck for a present.

    my brother, a middle name user in signatures, etc., found out in his late 30s that he legally didn’t have a middle name.

    I too am a lefty.

    In fact, my entire immediate family is left handed.

    I don’t know if that’s rare or not, but I don’t know any other family composed entirely of port siders.

    Paul, believe me, in a country (Japan) where middle names don’t exist, you’d be much happier with just two names than to have an extraneous middle one that no one knows how to deal with.

    The only analogy I can think of might be if someone from a Spanish-speaking country had some personal documents with both their parents’ surnames on them (Jose Garcia y Fernandez, let’s say) and then moved to an English-speaking country. He’s happy to go through life with his father’s surname and be Jose Garcia; everyone has always called him that and he hardly ever even thinks about the “y Fernandez” part, but municipal bureaucrats and employers and airline desk clerks occasionally make service difficult because they expect, despite American culture not doing things the Spanish way, him to keep using that “y Fernandez” appendage even in America.

    Eventually he’d get fed up and, risking family disloyalty in the process, probably just try to strike “y Fernandez” from whatever papers contain them.

    (And I’m a lefty too. The world needs more lefties!)

    I’m kind of surprised for the lack of support for middle names. I personally love my middle name (given to me in honor of my maternal grandfather) and am so proud of it, upon graduating college, I decided to use the middle initial in branding myself in my professional life. I feel it’s an honor to carry his name, while having my own distinct first name allows me to maintain my own identity. That’s partly why I’ve already decided to never name any of my children as a Jr, because I feel that could potentially be a lot of pressure on a kid. You see it all the times with celebrities and athletes (example: Dale Earnhardt Jr.)

    For the most part, it looks like middle names are like an appendix. One thing that really bugs me is hyphened / double first & last names.

    Speaking as another left-handed person (tho I’m slightly ambidextrous which is cool because I can use the mouse right-handed to draw) I’ve always been surprised how rare that it’s a 1 in 10 ratio to righties. You’d think it’d be a more even 50/50 shot.

    My parents both grew up in the Dominican Repbulic, where your full name includes middle names and both paternal and maternal surnames. Also when a woman gets married she adds a “De” in front of her husbands last name. “De” meaning “of”. So if Mary Jane Smith Johnson marries Billy Bob Rogers Jones….she becomes Mary Jane Smith Of Jones. You have no idea how many issues my parents had when they emigrated to US in the 60s!!!!!

    Thankfully, this practice has gone by the wayside for the most part in Latin countries. Also regarding middle names…if you legally have one, it is required that your name is listed that way on your driver’s license here in North Carolina.

    Kinda wish you’d tell these stories, at least summarize them. Very curious about the name change and the lack of a middle name.

    My middle name, like my first and last is both common as a surname and a given name. I have nine different combinations to choose from if I rearrange my name. And they all sound equally legit. I always thought that was kinda cool.

    That site with the “leaked” Nike soccer shirts is taking a very long time to reveal itself to my wee iPhone. Betcha I’m not the only one interested … My last name being Nugent, persons behind the desks at certain kinds of establishments — rental car agencies; inexpensive motels; hardware stores — usually ask me if I’m related to Ted. I say he’s my son. I have never met anyone with my forename, but I’m aware of the legendary Mr Smythe north of the border … There is so much to say about who was and wasn’t bad and good re Hollywood and McCarthyism that I would hope we don’t go there…

    I know your pain Connie.

    My last name is Meredith and I inevitably get the Dandy Don question. In my case, he is family (a distant cousin).

    I have never met anyone with my forename, but I’m aware of the legendary Mr Smythe north of the border

    Your name always feels very familiar to me, but that might just be my background in link. ;)

    Just got to the Nike soccer shirt site… I like ’em! Especially cool was the many-striped USA jersey.

    Really cool article today. Unfortunately, I have a sort of unique and very local last name, but I did find someone else who has my same name who played baseball in High School for Spring-Ford.

    When I was a kid, I thought about changing my name (and becoming a pop star) but it felt weird being called something else. It still does.

    “On the one hand, this was very cool and progressive of them; on the other, it’s kind of a heavy trip to dump into the lap of a seveon-year-old.”.

    “Seven/seveon” is spelled wrong. Also, what about cases of family members being directly related to each other (by blood, not marriage), and having the same surname pronunciation, but different legal spellings? For example, There are two spellings of my *fairly* rare last name. There’s the spelling that I’ve known all my life, Duroncelet, and then there’s a part of my extended family with the same pronunciation, but spelled Duronselet.

    Don’t know what the story on that is about, but are there any other cases? Like O’Brien/O’Brian, Bachman/Bocchman, etc.?

    Gaelic names would do that, depending on how far back you want to carry the relation. On my Mother’s side, one of the family names is Burns. That was changed from O’Burn to sound more Scottish during the famine, so they could get into the US more easily. But Burns/Byrne/O’Burn/O’Byrne are all the same historic clan, and all spellings are correct, just different translations from the original gaelic. O’Brien/O’Brian would be the same way. O’Neill/O’Neil/O’Neal as well, they all follow from the Uí Néill house.

    Great story Paul!

    As someone with a fairly unusual last name, I was thrilled when player with my name made the NHL a few years ago. As far as I can tell, he’s the only athlete/celebrity to share my surname in a long time. Unfortunately he plays for a conference rival, otherwise I would have bought a jersey by now.

    One of the added benefits: in the EA Sports line of NHL video games, if you create a player with the name of someone in the game, the announcers will actually use it while you play. Hearing my name in a video game always puts a smile on my face.

    I feel your pain. Norm Ullman played for Detroit and Toronto, and though I’ll never wear a Wings sweater unless it involves losing a bet, I did spring for a Leafs jersey awhile back (though it’s technically a foul because he played before NOBs were mandatory).

    My last name is Baldwin, and I am white. When I was a kid, James Baldwn was an MLBpitcher , which I thought was cool. I have met a lot of people with the last name Baldwin, most of them were African-American. This is a bit awkward because I can’t help but think they probably ended up with that last name because of slavery. Side note, if I had a dime for every time I was asked if I was related to the Baldwin brothers, Id be richer than them.

    He’s not even the most famous James Baldwin.

    Do a Google image search and not one pic of him pops up on the first page unless you specify “James Baldwin Pitcher” or “James Baldwin White Sox (or Mariners, Mets, etc.)”. And you’ll even get some images of THE James Baldwin in those results.

    Hmm, never known any “seveon”-year-olds… maybe Semyon Varlamov was one once?

    (Just had to point out that slight typo…)

    As always, if you want to order an orange card – or any other color – you can sign up here.

    I thought purple was banned?

    And, on today’s topic, no, I’m not related to Winston (as far as I know).

    Steve Trachsel, the former pitcher, didn’t Americanize his name like we did. Ours, a long time ago, used to be spelled like his. I’ve actually been asked, “What’s it like having an X in your name?”


    That pic is almost Casey Kasem-ish…”Keep you feet foot on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.”

    My name is Craig Dudley. My namesake was an English footballer. He retired due to injury in 2006 and is now a driving instructor (thanks Wikipedia!). I have often thought of buying a jersey of one of the teams he played for with his (my) name on the back. Also, there apparently was another Craig Dudley who did some gay porn in the 70’s. I think I’ll stick with the soccer player.

    This doesn’t necessarily mean that Charlie Brown and his crew all lived in California, of course, but it’s the most specific geographical reference I can ever recall having seen in “Peanuts.” …

    What’s going on in the pictures on PP’s wall? The one on the left looks like a dog, but what is the one on the right depicting?

    Also, in the “Happy Thanksgiving, Charlie Brown” (or perhaps the “Great Pumpkin”) special there is a scene where Lucy is reading a TV guide sitting in front of the television. Her picture is on the cover of the TV guide.

    I have always figured that “Peanuts” was set in the upper Midwest, since Schulz was originally from the Twin Cities, I believe. The pennants from the California schools may be due to Schulz moving to Northern California later in life. (Santa Rosa, I believe–north of the Bay Area). As I recall, he either owned or had a take in an ice skating rink in Santa Rosa–and at one time, the ice was yellow for some reason.

    I’ve seen that link before and I have to say, it is one of the coolest places I’ve ever seen a famous person/non-sports franchise be affiliated with. I’d do something very similar including the hockey rink, and it would have a massive bar with a localized restaurant menu, batting cages and some kind of billiards tournament area. And a bowling alley, of course.

    Schulz was heavily into being a California guy. He had season tickets to the NHL’s Seals while they were there, and he did some of their promo stuff for free. While he never let go of his roots in Minnesota, I believe the pennant-placement in Patty’s room was nothing more than a shout-out to Schulz and his “new” home by the animators.

    Schulz was also a Giants fan, IIRC. Back in October of 1962, he did the famous strip where Charlie Brown plaintively asked why Willie McCovey couldn’t have hit (the World Series-ending) line drive two feet higher.

    I always thought that Schulz drew on his life in Northern California for his summer strips, and his St. Paul boyhood for the winter ones.

    Seems reasonable to think the Peanuts gang were left coasters. Who sits in a pumpkin patch anywhere east of the Rockies after October 15th?

    Charlie Brown also lost a spelling bee on the word “maze.” He spelled it “Mays.” As in Willie Mays.

    As a Williams, it’s pretty common place to see my surname on the back of an athlete’s jersey. I think there’s a Williams in every NFL team.

    Strangely, in my native UK, Williams doesn’t really emerge all to often in soccer. The Welsh rugby team, a place where you’d think there’d be a plethora of Williams’, also seems to have suffered a drought.

    Bob, like you i grew up with a pretty common surname, Harris. It was fun to tell people I was related to the Islanders’ forward, Billy, though I wasn’t.

    It was also fun to see my name on wine bottles from the now-defunct Australian Andrew Harris Vineyards. But I hit something of a doppelganger crest when the BC Lions won the Grey Cup this season behind their star running back, Andrew Harris.


    Not sure if it has been mentioned but Toby Gerhart also does not wear gloves at the RB position. At least in every game that I have seen him in in college and with the Vikes.

    I was just going to say that it’s probably even rarer to see an offensive player with taped fingers. But how could one forget Tim Brown?…except for me obviously.


    Correction: Hillis SOMETIMES doesn’t wear gloves.



    I wonder if the rain has something to do with it? From experience, gloves can get quite slick in the rain if you don’t get a chance to try them. He doesn’t wear a towel, and there aren’t many RBs who do either.

    Major Seahawk uni notable from Marshawn Lynch last night, link. This one might garner a fine from the NFL, however I thought it looked quite cool.

    I’ll admit I didn’t catch this one in the ticker, sort of skimmed through it(rushing to point this out). Although, I would have made a comment anyway on how super slick I thought his socks looked.

    Interesting story. My last name is, like Paul, one letter off from a more common name. I don’t really remember ever seeing a major athlete with my last name on their jersey. Though I DO have the honor of sharing it with a prominent politician. Yay!

    I’ve always been cool with having a middle name, just because it helps to further differientiate me from all the other “Chris Holder”s in the world. Seriously, while I can’t think of any famous athletes with my last names (of which somebody will inevitably respond to this and prove me wrong!), a typical Facebook search proves that there’s a lot of me. Sigh. I will admit that, otherwise, a middle name seems a bit pointless (unless you were one of those unfortunate kids in school who had a TERRIBLE first name and a much more acceptable middle name).

    link is Jason Bernard (me). link is also Jason Bernard. THAT Jason Bernard played the judge in the movie “Liar Liar” (starring Jim Carey), and died during filming. At the end of that movie’s credits, they included “In Loving Memory of Jason Bernard”. Creeped me out a little.

    A search of link turns up seven Jason Bernards, including link(also me).

    Rocky Bernard (currently with the Giants) is the only Bernard I can think of off hand whose surname appears on a jersey.

    In my family’s case, “Bernard” was Americanized from “Bernadovich” (sp?).

    Red Cap Ale is now brewed by Brick Brewery in Waterloo ON, Canada. One story of the red cap that I have heard is that the beer was considered a “hunter’s beer”. And hunters traditionally wore red caps for safety in the woods.

    And hunters traditionally wore red caps for safety in the woods.

    Not being a hunter myself, but at least being familiar with the fact that most wear orange to make themselves visible… was there a change over the years from red to the “blaze orange” now popular? Or was there just never a standard color until the orange? Anybody know?

    Good point. I don’t wemember. Was he weawing wed as he was hunting wabbits? It was just a neutral bwown, no?

    For a slightly more serious answer, a (very little) bit of google seems to indicate that the wearing of blaze orange started in the early 70’s.

    Paul, I share a name with the father and brother of the late Chris Farley. I’m also a journalist, so after years of laying out newspaper pages it made my head spin to read “said his father, Tom Farley.” “Wait! I never said that! … Oh …”

    RE: Wesley College TV numbers…..

    I guess you only need bigger TV numbers if you’re actually going to be on TV!

    My last name is Brulia. It is not Italian, though many times folks thought it was. It is actually Croatian. It was originally “Brulja”, but the j was changed to an i by my gradparents when they arrived from the old country.

    The closest any athlete had my name was when Stan Drulia played for the Tampa Bay Lightning for a few seasons in the 90’s.

    Love ya, Stan!

    Those Grizzlies unis look great….but I have to hate them this week since they travel to Sam Houston State on Friday night to play my beloved BearKats in the 1-AA semifinals

    Eat em Up Kats…

    funny, i met a guy out on the ice just last night that told me his last name is the same as mine. i replied “you probably spell it wrong though” (a line my mom ALWAYS uses). he said “i’m one N, and one L” i said “i’m two Ns, two Ls and the E before the Ls” he thought about it with his head down for a second, looked back over at me and said “wow” hahaha

    it’s pretty rare that i find people with the same spelling as me, but really cool when i do come across them. i know there was a connelly back in the day that played for the steelers (50s i think…). my uncle is named michael connelly (for you readers). and i recently found out there was a wayne connelly that bounced around the NHL. probably the same era connelly snapped the ball for the steelers?

    and i have always loved my middle name! my mom used to introduce me as “her little italian son, ryan patrick”… confused the ever living hell out of me for YEARS! lol

    (she’s quite a character…)

    Since you asked, link ended his career with the Steelers in 1968. link‘s NHL career was at the same time that Mike was in the MFL, but he added several successful years in the WHA.

    My last name is Viola. Growing up people always asked if I was related to Mets/Red Sox/Reds/Twins/Blue Jays hurler Frank Viola. I said no for the longest time, until one day I decided “screw it” and started saying yes. I would say he was my dad’s cousin. You would be surprised how people would look at you in a new light when they thought you were semi-connected to someone they watch on TV. I also collected baseball cards as a kid and I always felt a connection to Frank’s cards, so I always made a point to keep them separate with my better cards even thought they weren’t as good/collectible. There was just something cool to a 10 year old to see your last name on a baseball card, especially since my name isn’t as common as Smith or Johnson, etc. So it was cool to see it appear on something I was interested in.

    As far as middle names. I’m Italian so my full name is Michael Peter Anthony Viola. Peter is my original middle name (after my pops) and Anthony is my Confirmation name. I usually just go as Mike Viola (or Mikey V. as my friends call me), but I do some freelance writing and as well with any other professional things I do I go by Michael P. Viola. Just feels more official and professional. It’s like I’m two people. Mike is the normal guy and Michael P. is the all business guy.

    Confirmation names aren’t legal names, though. Otherwise I’d be Timothy Edward Vincent O’Brien. But unless you went the legal route and changed your name, that’s just some catholic naming nonsense, not your actual name.

    I understand it’s not part of my legal name, but it is still a name I went by at times because I have a cousin Michael, so i was Peter Anthony. I was just using it to illustrate the point of some having no middle name and others having multiple names jammed in there between their first and last. It’s not nonsense either. It’s a Catholic right I took/take seriously and hold dear because of my personal beliefs and the memories of now past away relatives used to refer to me. You’re entitled to your views/beliefs, but please don’t belittle mine.

    No belittling, clearly I’m catholic, but we’re talking about legal names, saying Anthony is in your name IN THIS CONTEXT is like when Paul wrote in his nonexistent middle initial – it’s not REALLY a part of your legal name.

    I’ve written my initials TEVO (or TEVOB, as I am want to do…) but that doesn’t make Vincent any part of my legal name. That’s all.

    (And “Catholic Naming Nonsense” just rolls off the tongue, nice alliteration and iambic trimeter there, assuming you pronounce catholic cath-lick like a good Chicagoan, haha.)

    Indeed. When I read your first response I didn’t take my medicine yet (read: three shots of Jack Daniels). Now that I am medicated, my sensitivity meter is out of the red. I’m usually thicker skinned.

    You’re last name is Viola? That’s actually kind of cool–I play a viola in my high school orchestra.

    (Fun Fact: only “orchestra” instrument to not be measured in metric. Go America!)

    My last name, Nuzum, had been the subject of speculation among friends and family for years. What was it? German? Hungarian? Slavic? An altered spelling of another name? Or simply “Newsome” misspelled (and a LOT of people will pronounce it “Newsome,” which bugs the hell out of me because that’s just being lazy, going with the “S” sound instead of the “Z”). And it may be one of the most difficult to pronounce and/or spell five-letter names ever based on the misspelled junk mail and the inability of phone spammers to pronounce it.

    Finally, one of my cousins discovered the origin. Irish! Who’da thought there’d be an Irish name with a Z in it!

    One of my friends bought me a Wichita Thunder hockey jersey with my name on the back for Christmas a few years ago. I remarked that this was the only way that you’d ever see the name on the back of a jersey. But then of of his co-workers said there was a Nuzum who was a backup center for the Packers very briefly in the early 1980s.

    One of my friends bought me a Wichita Thunder hockey jersey with my name on the back for Christmas a few years ago. I remarked that this was the only way that you’d ever see the name on the back of a jersey. But then of of his co-workers said there was a Nuzum who was a backup center for the Packers very briefly in the early 1980s.

    True — this guy:

    Plus there was also Jerry Nuzum, a running back with the Steelers back in the late 1940s and early ’50s (of course, that was the NNOB era, so he didn’t have his/your name on his jersey):

    My father cannot introduce himself without a joke or remark. His name is John Hancock. I remember when I was younger that he had to explain after someone thought he was a moron after asking for his “John Hancock”

    There are several people named Mike Hersh out there. One of my old high school classmates thought I was the political author with the same name. I told him it’s definitely not me because I can barely put sentences together.

    Paul, if your mom played sports and used all her last names, she would have one hell of a nameplate.

    In regards to the hockey enforcer cards. It almost seems like Brian Price produced this set without getting rights to any players.

    “I assume most of you had better things to do last night than watch the Rams/Seahawks game (like, say, take a nap, clean the toilet, slit your wrists, etc.)…”

    How sad is it that as a Seahawk fan, I spent 3.5 hours last night watching that game. Then again, I could have done that as a Ram fan, which would have been much worse.

    My middle name is nice to have, I suppose. There are a trillion Michael Engles with bank accounts at (withheld), but it’s nice to have a middle name and a birthdate on record to disambiguate myself. (Yes yes, the SSN, but I prefer that that come up as rarely as possible.) Aside from that, and aside from giving me a three-letter monogram (I think it looks better than two), I’d agree that middle names are pointless.

    Oh by the way, how do you think Bill Bidwill feels about his name? Has to be the most frequently and atrociously misspelled name in the history of professional sports.
    (What’s “atrociously” in this case? I don’t know if there’s a set rule, but I suppose that ‘Dwayne’ Wade and ‘Johnny’ Peralta would be “reasonable” misspellings. And for European names like Petteri Nokelainen, there is no such think as “atrocious spellings,” only heroic attempts at getting it right! LOL.)

    Very interesting topic about the names. I’ve always had problems with my surname, simply because so many people spell it wrong – mostly Behan or Beaham, but I’ve had some weird spellings over the years. Seems to be pretty rare – the most famous Beahan I’m aware of is Kermit Beahan, the guy who dropped the atom bomb on Nagasaki. I got so sick of the constant misspellings/pronounciations that I tend to use a totally different name for my business endevours…

    I met a guy named John Jacob Jingleheimer-Schmidt. His name is my name too!! I don’t think he was an Oscar winner though.

    PS: That would be an awesome NOB!!

    I don’t like my middle name or my last name… thus my handle on here. My last name is also a city in Utah, and I’m about as far from Mormon as possible…and my middle name is after a 20lb white cat my parents had before I was born (yes, really). So, yeah.

    Interesting. If you actively dislike it, why not change it? Is it just too much hassle, or do you feel like I do (i.e., your name is your name, the end)?

    A bit of both, I guess. I’ve never really checked into it, but it does seem like it’d be more trouble than it’s worth…. and while the city bugs me a bit, it is MY name.

    I think this basically covers it, just replace a few key words… link

    For what its worth, Red Cap Ale is still around.


    Its no longer brewed by Carling (which is now a unit of MolsonCoors), its brewed by a small independent.

    My last name is O’Sullivan, and I’ve grown used to seeing a large number of Sullivans on the ice/field in my life. However, I had never seen my ‘real’ last name on a jersey until Patrick O’Sullivan broke into the NHL a few years ago.


    I can tell you all with total certainty that the Big 10 school switching to Under Armour is Northwestern.

    My last name is fairly uncommon, but I have found a “Larry Brunt” who was an Academic All-American on the Bucknell football team in the mid-1970s. I’ve been curious about him.

    My dad’s name is John, and the most infamous John Brunt from history was part of a failed conspiracy to assassinate members of the British government in 1820 (Cato Street Conspiracy). John Brunt was hanged and beheaded. My dad has said reading about his execution (which was gruesomely prolonged) was a very strange experience indeed!

    I have a middle name, but I have a number of colleagues and clients without them.

    The biggest issue they seem to have is complying with forms and templates. Being told, when signing up for a bank account or something, that “the system won’t accept the form without a middle name”.

    I still run into this fairly frequently filling out government forms on behalf of clients. I fill out the form without the middle name, I get a call back from a civil servant telling me “You left out the middle name”.

    What do you want me to do, make one up to satisfy your computer?

    Don’t call it the Gasoline Bowl, call it the Alamo Bowl, I had no idea that Valero sponsored it until I looked it up to see which company made it the “Gasoline bowl”. Why are you giving credence to the sponsor instead of calling it by its actual name. I have no issue with you attacking the “Chick-Fil-A” bowl as it should be called the Peach bowl (though I feel it would be more effective for you to call it the Peach bowl and refuse to acknowledge its sponsor and their decision to rename it).

    Sponsors change and for the most part the Bowl names remain the same, if you have such an issue with the names being preempted by the sponsors then simply don’t acknowledge them, it’s easy to do.

    Also, I rolled my eyes when you said the Heat had a BFBS uniform, as that title sometimes gets thrown around in times when its not “for black’s sake”, but then I followed the link… Are they really going to wear a fashion jersey as an Alternate? what does this mean for the current alternate (which I prefer over the regular aways)?

    Well, there’s me, and then there is a Brooks Simpson who was quite an impressive college wrestler at Iowa (he is currently a minister). So people looking for my books also come up with “Winning Wrestling Moves.”

    There’s also the story of how in the Netherlands a Dutch banker made out forms for an account for me under the name Dr. O. J. Simpson (this was during the trial, and Europeans were also mesmerized by it). The banker was first affronted, then embarrassed, when I pointed out that I was not that person.

    This hardly compares, but I stumbled across another James Huening on the facebook when I first signed up. He was one of my first “friends” there.

    With a last name of Okray, I was always kind of bummed that no professional athlete would share my name on the back of their jersey. But, after thinking about it for a while, I ended up preferring it.

    The one gripe I have about my last name is that is is very often assumed I am Irish, and people accidentally spell it “O’Kray”. “Okray” is actually Polish, and was changed slightly when my ancestors came to the States. My Mother’s maiden name is Lazzaroni. I think that would be a cool last name to have, but I do really love my unique last name.

    If you americanize my name, you get name of somebody who played guitar for KISS (believe me, I’m not too happy with that). And googling my name comes up with an “actor” who…well let’s just say I don’t want to get into his chosen profession.

    There’s been plenty of players with the last name “Vincent” but none with the Italian version.

    Are you upset because he’s (allegedly) a wife-beater or that he played in Kiss? If it’s the latter, perhaps you can take comfort in the fact that his split from the band was on very bad terms.

    I hated KISS (musical posers that dressed up like clowns for attention, IMO), but the “alleged” wife beating would make him more despicable.

    “by any other name”…
    When my paternal grandfather came to the US in the late 30s he changed the family name slightly but not inclduing the umlauts (dots over the vowel). Sometimes this still brings problems.
    When I was younger I was reading the obits in the local paper and saw that a author who had the same name as my dad had died ~ I looked up and told my dad ~ “Your’s dead”. He laughed. But we got phone calls most of the day offering condolences to my mom and me. Yes Dad even answered the phone ~ suprising one family friend.

    Lastly, unfortunally, the only way I will get to see a pro wearing my jersey would be if my children become big sport stars. :)

    The only people I know sharing my last name are former Arkansas/Dolphins/Bengals LB Tony Bua and this artist out in California called Justin Bua.

    Paul, I’m the opposite, everyone in the world has my name, it seems. I guess that’s what happens when you’re given a strong Irish name to someone born with the second most common Irish Surname…

    Tim O’Briens more famous than I:

    Tim O’Brien the author – link
    Tim O’Brien the bluegrass artist – link
    Tim O’Brien the artist/illustrator – link

    This is why I, regrettably, decided to become Tim ‘E.’ O’Brien, but even that’s not all that original – link .

    As far as athletes go, most O’Brien athletes are not named Tim (I can’t think of any) but most are American soccer players or Irish nationals who play soccer somewhere in Europe, though Shane O’Brien plays for the Aves.

    But there’s a lot of famous “o’briens” to compete with (Conan, 10,000 Irish restaurants, dozens of campanies, etc.) I’m just happy I’m not a Bill (William) O’Brien like my grandfather, dad and brother. Or the Pats’ offensive coordinator… or the Scottish soccer player… Or…


    I didn’t know you didn’t have a middle name. My wife doesn’t either. However, the strange thing is… her brother does! And they’re 100% brother/sister… not from a different mom/dad, not adopted, none of that. And her brother’s middle name isn’t her fathers name (a tradition families often do, and where I got my middle name.)

    (Sorry about the email. I never really noticed the comments section until now.)

    A couple of years ago, I first noticed a relatively little-known reliever on the Cardinals named Jason Motte. I was disappointed that he had an “E” on the end and wasn’t sure if it was pronounced the same. Of course, I found out that it is pronounced the same. So it’s not quite exactly my name. But it’s close enough. I had some fun posting on Facebook during the World Series this last fall and some friends played along. After the first game, I was able to say that I had played in the World Series. It was fun hearing Joe Buck say something like, “Jason Mott has been virtually unhittable in the playoffs.” So I posted that as my Facebook update. After Game 2, a friend posted saying that I was a little more hittable that night. I received some notes of congratulations after the Cardinals won Game 7.

    Joe Mott also played for the Jets, so I at least have seen my last name with the same spelling on a jersey once. I don’t have the most common last name in the world.

    While I write “Christopher” on emails and in forums… I generally go by “Chris”.

    Full name: Chris Falvey

    You have no idea how often I got “Chris Farley” in the 1990’s.

    And I’m 6’3″, 145 lbs… completely opposite body type.

    But I did love Chris Farley (RIP).

    Also, according to Baseball-reference (which now has minor league records too)… there has never been a Falvey baseball player. I’ll check other sports later…

    It’s funny, I’ve met very few of us Christophers that actually use that name. Like you, I sign documents and have my email signature styled as “Christopher”, but in everyday usage it’s always Chris (or my last name). My mom still calls me Christopher, as in her words, “that’s the name I gave you”. There’s too many of us, I know that (hence the reason I often get called by my last name).

    I’ve met a few Christophers, but it’s definitely seems to be the exception rather than the rule. I like it as a more formal signature, but when spoken, the name sounds more “childish” to me. I’m sure that’s odd.

    I do like the name, in a vacuum. Just wish fewer people had it.

    Crap, totally went off memory without sourcing or checking, Arena is a Long Islander. Thank goodness this isn’t Twitter. PLEASE, nothing to look here…

    Hey Chris,

    I never had to deal with that Christopher B.S., but I can relate to you, just the same. Girls in middle school thought Christopher was “cuter” so I allowed that, and you had better believe it. For me it’s been “plain” Chris since day one in the early 60’s. My Mom claims she wanted to avoid the “confusion” that would come up. Keep it simple was her motto. Add the gratuitous maternal grandfather’s 1st name, and you’ve got my middle name.

    Paul, if you search, there were 4 players in the minors named Lukas:


    …none made it to the majors.

    Fuck that minor league stuff. I want a Lukas — or several Lukae — in the majors!

    (That’s how we style it in our family — one Lukas, two or more Lukae.)


    Apparently, manufacturing operations have come to a standstill:



    @nbmaggio There have been production issues with the auth jerseys from reebok this season. We won’t be getting any more until next season
    12 Dec

    For me, there have been many players bearing my last name, but not spelled the same way.

    It’s always “Reed” (like Willis, or George – for my fellow Roughrider fans), or “Reid” – like former NHL’er Dave Reid. But until this year, I’ve never seen a “Read” in any of the big four major North American sports.

    Now there is finally a “Read”, and even better, he plays for my favorite team of all, the Philadelphia Flyers. Who knows… maybe Matt Read could become the first-ever Flyer to take home the Calder Trophy, as the NHL’s Rookie of the Year!

    As the proud owner of a greyhound, I’ve got to find one of those hood ornaments.

    People always add an “s” to my last name.

    I never thought my wife would want to take my last name, but she was eager to do so. The alliteration is a plus.

    Andruw = Andrew
    Jeffires = Jeff-reez
    Dwyane = Dwayne
    Jhonny = Johnny


    Sometimes I wonder if birth certificates are f’d up, or if parents are poor spellers.

    Jhonny is a common spelling in Latin America. (Ok. Maybe not “common.” But it’s out there. Peralta isn’t the only one.) So that comes from Latin American parents trying to give their baby an English name. I’ve seen the “Jh-” in Ecuador. They just don’t know where the H goes.

    Andruw Jones… I guess he can say something about being from Curacao.

    Now Dwyane Wade… I can’t defend that.

    Another lefty here. I feel your pain.

    My surname is Helfer; you’d think, six simple letters, spelt the way it’s pronounced, not much trouble, right? I’ve been called Hefler, Hefner, Heifer, Hofstetler, Hilf, Hoffman, Hitler (ha ha), Holt, Hilford, and Richmond. Plus, my gramps, who was also Walter Helfer, was a composer of middle-ish repute in the early 20th C. Lastly, my middle name is Voepel, not really a rare name in Germany. We’re one of those families who uses mother’s maiden names, a custom some people have found unusual.

    It’s okay. I embrace all that lefty=sinister voodoo. But handwriting conspires against us. Ever notice the way the side of your left hand turns silver from sliding across the pencil markings?

    Probably a moot task to be somehow worked into a random poll someday, but I always wondered if the Uni Watch community had more left-handers than average. Lefties tend to be more creative, smarter, better in general ;) On a note, I learned to use right-handed scissors right away – totally wasn’t worth the hassle at school.

    I’ve wondered about political leanings as well, but that’s a very touchy subject (and it would be impossible just to keep it from a simple answer).

    Where do I fit in?
    I do almost everything with my right hand except write, kick (better left footed), and shoot rifles (my pistol hand is right).

    Here’s the weirdest thing: If I’m punting (which admittedly doesn’t happen often, but I used to do it a lot!), I use my left foot. But if I’m placekicking, or playing kickball or soccer, or kicking anything on the ground, I use my right foot.

    And both of those actions feel completely natural to me. Can’t punt right-footed, can’t placekick left-footed. Makes zero sense, but there you are. (Or there I am.)

    What I do left side/handed:
    Carry books
    Shoot long gun
    Brush teeth
    Shovel snow

    What I do right side/handed:
    Shoot hockey stick
    Shoot pistol

    I am the only person I know that uses eating utensils and writes with opposite hands.

    Look, we all know there’s only one true test of handedness (or ambidexterity). But I do NOT want to know where any of you fall on that matter.

    Not saying/asking where I fall here, but…

    I write, throw, hit, dribble, and shoot left-handed, and kick left-footed. I… don’t do much with the right hand/foot. If I’m eating something that doesn’t require a knife, I eat left-handed. But when I’m eating, let’s say steak, I cut with the left and eat with the right.

    The weirdest part is when I’m drumming. I play in the right-hand format (cross-hands on the Hi-Hat/Snare drum included), but start most of my fills on the left hand. I play the kick drum right footed, but start any double-bass licks on the left foot. I kinda see my style as sort of a cross between John Dolmayan from System Of A Down in the upper body, and Matt Greiner from August Burns Red in the lower body. If you were to see me play, you’d get a better picture.

    I know I’ve become borderline obsessive about this, but I just can’t overcome this pet peeve about teams’ “anniversary” versus “X years” claims. Once again we have a team whose PR department doesn’t know the difference between an anniversary and the number of seasons played. The Colorado Mammoth are celebrating their 10th SEASON in Colorado in 2012 (first season was 2003, tenth is therefore 2012), but their press release says “tenth anniversary season” (which will actually be in 2013, since 2013 will be the 10 year anniversary of 2003). They did get the logo on the 3rd jersey right though. It says “10 years” bracketed by “2003” and “2012”.

    Why is this so difficult?

    Press releases for minor league hockey teams are written by interns or 24-year-old PR “professionals.” Be happy that the sentences end with periods and leave it at that.

    Good point! (but I bet you wouldn’t have made that mistake when you were a 24-year-old)

    This is just one of those things that, once you notice it, you can’t help noticing it everywhere. It’s similar to apostrophe catastrophes. The world won’t end. 80% of the population doesn’t even notice. But by golly, once it gets under your skin, it’s hard to shake it.

    I’ll be darned, there was a Dom Principe who played for the Giants and the AAFC 1946 Brooklyn Dodgers football team. Interesting, they probably played a game or two against the Miami Seahawks.


    Most people think my name is a made up internet handle. There was a Lorenzo Styles on the Ohio State football team about 20 years ago, and of course ‘Styles’ from Teen Wolf, but lately I’ve seen my full name show up as monikers for backyard wrestlers, internet role-playing wrestlers, and even those ‘beefcake’ wresting videos that appeal to a certain adult video customer.

    Great article, Paul! I’ve never dealt with non-related athletes who share my name (Bobby Clampett the golfer is my Dad’s 3rd cousin…. so technically they are related!!). But because of my grandfather’s work in animation (Beany and Cecil, Looney Tunes to name a few…), I do hear my name more often than one would expect with such an unusual last name.

    I also find it funny when people call me, “Jed”… gets me everytime!


    I appreciate your good words… I’m sure my grandfather is somewhere smiling because he made fans of animation smile. My dad is operating the family business, and there is some good news coming soon (and I’m NOT saying Beany and Cecil 3D, though we have gotten studios offering that… *sigh*)… keep an eye out!

    There are two Lukas brothers (Petr and Pavel) who currently play soccer in the first division of the Czech league:



    Pavel, of course, is the Czech version of Paul.

    First, I’d like to say how awesome Paul’s parents were for giving him the name-change option. Wow.

    My parents, on the other hand, gave my brother and I middle names, and proceeded to use those as our first names. WTF? Every document (mostly school) had our first names as, you know, our first names. So every year it was the same scenario of correcting our teachers to call us by our middle names. I still don’t understand the reasoning, and my folks can’t explain it. I call my kids by their first name…as most people do.

    I definitely have the name-affinity Paul mentioned. I used to collect anything I could find with my name on it…which isn’t easy, as “Keith” isn’t as common as John or Tom, or even Paul.

    Good reading today!

    There’s a branch of my family where for something like 7 generations the first-born son has had the same first name, but they all go (or went) by their middle name. The middle name is different for each individual, but always starts with the same letter.

    Huge TCM fan here. So I was aware of and have seen Paul Lukas name on there and in movies. Kind of cool surprise in this late opening of the column today.

    I always got excited when I would see my last name on a pro athelete even though it was a rare experience. I still get a thrill out of seeing my name when I watch The Colbert Report.

    Paul Lukas also has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame! I saw it last spring when visiting my family in LA and made my wife take a picture of it. I am not clever enough to post that picture here, so Paul, I’m sending it to you via email.

    I never get tired of seeing famous people with my last name. There’s the shoe guy (Steve) and the 2 guys in Good Charlotte (Benji & Joel). In the sports world, I’ve come across a couple of writers (Mark & Bill), a hockey player (John), and, of course, the HoF coach. We still joke about having “Uncle” John cut the turducken at Thanksgiving dinner. Never found anyone famous with my first & last name, though…

    juuuuuuust getting to the comments now…and having been told this story (actually, i believe it was an unpublished article at one point) before, i’d always hoped paul would one day grace the UW pages with it…

    i only glanced at most of the comments, so do forgive me if this has been mentioned before, but i do know this transpired after i’d seen paul’s story — those of us who’ve not only got a middle name, but are called by it (actually, knowing what i know, i bet R. Scott has already touched on this)…

    it’s FAR FAR worse to have a middle name by which one is called than to have no middle name at all

    my dad, who as you all know passed away this summer, and who was so eloquently eulogized by Paul, was Harold Philip Hecken, Jr. — he went by Harold, or Hal, but i was always philip or phil

    also, i was not (thankfully) the third (III), but on my baptismal certificate (yeah, for all you who think i hate our lord and savior jesus christ)…it says “HAROLD PHILIP HECKEN” —

    how is this a “problem”? i grew up during the time period when (and it is still a problem) machines were becoming digitized and scanners were becoming common…so names were quickly and easily either keystroked in, after you filled out the corresponding boxes with a number two pencil underneath (as one may still have to do on an SAT exam, for example)…and there is no way to write out a middle name

    legally, it was always “FIRST M. LAST” (or LAST, FIRST M.) where the “M.” allows only for a middle initial — but what does one do if one does not go by one’s first name? i like to go by H. Philip and that’s how it appears on my drivers’ license and credit cards…but in many instances, they don’t allow for the first initial

    i remember thinking i could ‘buck’ the system by writing in “H (space) PHILIP” on i think it was an SAT exam…but the computers didn’t recognize a blank space, so when i got my SAT back, it came to…wait for it…

    HAPHILIP … yes, the machine assumed a blank HAD to be the letter “A” … there was no way to put a period in, and i didn’t want to go as H.P. i liked phil (or philip) and that wasn’t the only problem

    every class i was ever in in my early days got my legal name, so teachers always assumed me to use my first name…so in every class during my youth the teacher would call “harold? harold hecken?”… yes, much laughter ensued, not because harold is a bad name, but because no one “knew” me as that or had ever called me that…

    paul once asked me if i legally wanted to change the name, to which i reply, “hell no. it’s my given name, and i’m not going to change it just because people naturally assume or insist that it must be my name”…

    things have improved, somewhat, in the “ability to actually get that first initial-middle name” thing down, but even today, no credit card, nor my drivers license has the actual period… it’s H PHILIP HECKEN or HECKEN, H,PHILIP

    so…to end this essay…

    be grateful for your name, paul, embrace it. if you want a middle name, feel free to take my first one — you can have it, since i don’t use it

    and that “walk of fame” star?

    why, it’s link

    I have a similar but different problem thanks to my apostrophe – link

    On my credit cards, etc., my last name is OBRIEN.

    On my drivers license, Timothy E O Brien, which is what most government docs/mail are addressed to, though Obrien and OBrien are common, too.

    My website and email address also have to exclude my apostrophe.

    In fact, the only card in my wallet with my name correct on it is my expired IU student ID.

    nice story time

    makes me think the people who created these standardized tests and shit don’t care about the irish or the wasps who have their mother’s maiden name for a middle name and who choose to use it…

    and we both got caught up in the resulting crapstorm

    I feel kinda lucky my grandfather went from O’Kahen (if I am not mistake) to Cain.

    But, y’know, give the government some slack. It’s hard enough dealing with 26 letters; punctuation would just murder them.

    (Do custom jerseys allow hyphens?)

    Closet thing to any name confusion/frustration I’ve ever had (besides pronunciation) is the exclusion of my Suffix “Jr.”. My name was recorded as such without “Jr.” at the end mainly on school records, up until during 12th Grade (this was about late ’08, early ’09), when I made sure to add “Jr.” to any pending documents. I’m mainly recorded with my Suffix added these days, but it was funny (and kinda annoying/confusing) when my Dad would get something in the mail and him saying “How am I on some Honor Roll…? Oh, wait, duh. T.J., you got some mail!”

    Nice story about names today, I’ve enjoyed reading everyone’s stories. As far as the big 4 sports goes, there’s only been one player that shares my last name: Dick Sharon who played for the Detroit Tigers in 1973-74. I’m pretty sure we’re not related!

    Speaking of name changes, one of my father’s uncles changed his first, middle and last name to honor a mentor of his. I’m unsure if he had a falling out with the family or what but I always found it odd to change all 3 names. He was born in 1895 so I’m guessing he changed it around 1915.


    Hope the link works, these are the uniforms Michigan is going to wear in the Sugar Bowl.

    PS- My last name is Schoonover, never famous until some douchebag on “The Ultimate Fighter”. Pretty weak.

    Well…also the Princeton scientist who gets vaporized by Martians in New Jersey in Welles’ WAR OF THE WORLDS radio drama is Prof. Richard Pearson.

    Should the Dallas Stars Glen Gulutzan get a technical for their jerseys? Letters look close to those numbers

    Not sure if this was mentioned. I saw this on an Ohio State board.


    About Michigan’s Sugar Bowl uni.

    ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The University of Michigan football team will don a new white road jersey in the 2012 Sugar Bowl against Virginia Tech on Jan. 3, 2012, at the Superdome in New Orleans. The jersey will feature the Allstate Sugar Bowl logo above the heart and a blue Block M on the right upper chest. In addition, there will be two blue stripes on both sleeves and the neck line will be blue.

    “We met with our seniors and showed them some concepts that were proposed by adidas and the mock-up is what they chose,” said head coach Brady Hoke. “This is a something the players enjoy and we thought it would be a nice way to commemorate our appearance in the Sugar Bowl.”

    In addition, Michigan players decided to wear the gray face mask on the famed winged helmet, a look that was worn in the late 1960s and was brought back for the Under the Lights game with Notre Dame on Sept. 10, 2011. Player numbers will also continue to appear on the helmet.

    The actual game jerseys will be slightly different from the replicas sold at the M-Den ( and other retail stores.

    In addition, Michigan players decided to wear the gray face mask

    Kids these days… Dammit Michigan.


    My dads name was Bodnovich. Pretty sure the Slovak spelling is Bodnovic. Supposedly means Son of a Potter. Rusyn.

    My moms side was DiCiannna. Italian from Calabria. When one of my moms older sisters were in school and the teacher could not say the name she shortened it to Chan. The teacher did and from then on the family was Chan. As in Charlie Chan.

    My cousins later changed the name back legally.

    Good stuff today

    I get bothered when I come across others with my last name. It’s something I’m possessive of. Hearing my name being used on TV in reference to someone outside my family seems unnatural.

    The first example that comes to mind is A.J. Abrams.

    From the MLB’s new labor agreement

    “Also part of the deal: Any big leaguer who wants to change uniform numbers without switching teams better give eight months’ notice unless he’s willing to buy warehouses full of his overstocked jerseys.”

    minor tidbit of uni-related news

    And for players thinking about selling ads on their bodies, MLB has thought ahead. The agreement says “no player may have any visible markings or logos tattooed on his body” as part of the uniform regulations.

    That seems to be worded in a way as to not allow tattoos at all. How the hell did that pass?

    THANK YOU, Bud Selig, for FINALLY listening to fan complaints.

    If I had to suffer through another viewing of Prince Fielder’s “SAVE BIG MONEY AT MENARD’S” tattoo around his neck, I’d be forced to switch to following World Team Tennis during summer.

    Hey Paul, love the site. Started reading in Columbus, Ohio and now reside in Ciudad Juarez Mexico (long story). I remember right after graduating college, Ohio State signed linebacker Ryan Miller. And of course there is certain goalie I share a name with in Buffalo.

    Charlie Weis isn’t exactly setting high standards on his recruiting pitch at KU

    “All these guys want two things. No. 1, they want an opportunity to play early, and No. 2, they want an opportunity to play on Sunday,” Weis said. “My whole thing is, `We’re 2-10. If you can’t play here, where can you play?’ That’s this year’s presentation.”

    Read more: link

    I get the privilege of seeing my last name on the front of jerseys everyday… Even have one myself. People tend to get a kick when a wear it, and my old students believed my claim that team was named after me!

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