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Twins Pitcher With 15-Letter NOB Makes Big League Debut

Twins pitcher Simeon Woods Richardson is making his MLB debut today, and I guess you could say he’s really making a name for himself.

“Woods Richardson” has 15 letters. That’s one more than Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s 14 letters, which up until now has been the undisputed longest surname in MLB history.

But Woods Richardson is clearly in a different category, because his surname is really two names, while Salty achieved his prodigious letter count with a single name.

Obviously, we’re going to be seeing more and more lengthy NOBs as players with compound surnames reach the pro ranks. I have nothing against compound surnames, but I think their letter count should be assessed differently than the non-compound variety.

So for now, I move that we still recognize Salty as holding the record for the longest non-compound NOB, while Woods Richardson is the new standard-bearer for compound NOBs. What say ye?

Meanwhile, the Twins really need to get some compressed lettering for Woods Richardson’s NOB, so he can avoid the dreaded “around the world” treatment (last seen on Dee Strange-Gordon). Perhaps they should go with the double-decker approach, which Cubs prospect Pete Crow-Armstrong has been wearing lately.

Comments (26)

    This makes me curious as to what the longest surname was on a team that used vertically arched names

    Off the top of my head … the Giants used to have a pitcher named William van Landingham when they had vertically arched NOBS.

    Salty came up with Atlanta in ’07–two years too late get the vertically arched treatment. What a shame.

    It makes me wonder what the longest last name in MLB history was, including before names and even numbers.

    And in an interesting connection with the article. Dee Strange-Gordon’s brother Nick Gordon plays for the Twins.

    Love a double decker! Extremely common in women’s sports, and especially when the NOB is under the number. And that’s not unprecedented in MLB, the Reds did it early in Pete Rose’s career. But double-decker up top is cool too! Bring it on!

    If you’re going to do double-decker NOBs, the first half over the number and the second half under it would look much better than what Pete Crow-Armstrong has.

    PS another thing I don’t love aesthetically about this Woods Richardson is that you can’t see the space too well! His name is his name, so it’s not on him to change it at all…it’s on the teams to figure out a way to make it look decent.

    It used to be standard for teams with NOBs to have a second, skinnier font for people with long names. The Mets definitely had one when Darryl Strawberry was on the team, as seen link.

    Rawlings had them; not sure about Russell. Maybe Majestic stopped doing it? I don’t think I’ve seen the once-standard thin NOB font in the Majestic or Nike eras.

    His name is his name but that looks awful from a purely aesthetic standpoint. For as much as teams tend to overdo their graphics packages with bespoke fonts and outlines, this is an argument for simpler lettering with an option for a compressed font.
    There should also be a little more common sense for names. The NOB should be simply your legal last name. No suffixes, no hyphenating with grandma’s maiden name because you were close. I only use my suffix (and other professional letters) in the most formal settings (diplomas, professional licenses), but for any team I ever made, NOB is my last name.

    We seem to be going down the Tikki-Tikki-Tembo road. When there is both a mother and father with hyphenated surnames, does that make the kids have four last names?

    Nicknames, like they tried a couple of seasons ago in that Little League dress up game (in this case: Woody? Woodster? Woodini?). Or like the Yankees: no names at all.

    I’d be OK with that. In the old days, you needed to buy a program. Today, you whip out your smart phone. Or check the scoreboard. Or the auxiliary scoreboard. Or the ribbon board. Or simply pay attention.

    Oh we can’t have that can we? Pay attention to the game?

    I go to Indianapolis Indians games. I try to leave my phone alone or not even bring it to the game. You look around the stands and 50+% aren’t paying a bit of attention to the game. They’re all on their phones.

    I attended Notre Dame men’s hockey’s exhibition game Sunday and they have a freshman defenseman named Michael Mastrodomenico. At 14 letters, that’s the longest surname I can think of in hockey. Unfortunately, I didn’t get a photo, but the equipment staff got the NOB onto one line by compressing the letters. It also helps that Notre Dame’s NOB style is a single-color varsity block style.

    The woman in front of me at Citizens Bank Park knits during Phillies games. And she isn’t an old lady!

    Wonder if a double-decker approach for non-hyphenated, two part surnames carries the risk of being misread as first + last names. At least going “around the world” implies that you’re looking at a sequential name. I like the earlier suggestion for slimmer letters to reduce the visual weight of a long name.

    (Speaking as someone with a _middle_ name of Woods, Simeon got so close to being my favorite rookie! The wait continues…)

    Can we also lament the fact that these past few years have brought so many bizarre, non-traditional jersey numbers that Mr. Woods Richardson’s #78 isn’t even being commented on?

    Thought the same thing. I guess the trend now is to be unique but I always thought that in baseball, any number over 59 was only seen during spring training on a guy who isn’t making the team this year (except for Carlton Fisk’s #72). It still looks “un-MLB” to me. If I played, I would ask for the lowest double-digit number available (I pitched and still can’t get used to single-digit pitchers either.).

    I thought the crazy numbers would fall off a little when they limited the September rosters to 28, but the Corona season seems to have cemented them: that year, when a player was suddenly called up, many teams seem to have given out whatever random thing the minor leaguer had been wearing in spring training with no effort to keep numbers normal-looking. If the current trend to have all-over-the-place numbers sticks, I suspect people will see 2020 as the turning point.

    I hope someone with the same last name as that village in Wales plays for the MLB one day.


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