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Reds Prospect Poised to Bring Monster NOB to the Big Leagues

The Reds caused a bit of a stir over the weekend by tweeting a few rear-view photos of prospect Christian Encarnacion-Strand, whose prodigious surname, combined with the team’s clunky NOB font, makes for quite the rear-jersey spectacle!

To be clear: Encarnacion-Strand, who’s a third baseman, is not yet on the Reds’ big league roster (or even their 40-man roster, for that matter), but that might change soon. He put up very solid numbers this year at Single- and Double-A, will likely start next season at Triple-A, and according to some projections could be promoted to the big league club sometime in 2023.

If Encarnacion-Strand makes it to the bigs, his 17-letter, 18-character surname would break the record for the longest NOB in MLB history. That distinction is currently held by Twins pitcher Simeon Woods Richardson (15 letters, 16 characters), who made his MLB debut about two months ago:

Of course, Encarnacion-Strand and Woods Richardson both fall into the category of compound names. For mononymic surnames, Salty (14 letters) still holds the record.

Comments (30)

    Is it just me or does the NOB font just look excessively big in both those photos? Like even without the hyphenated last names, both Encarnacion and Richardson would look too long for the jersey? I mean if I visually picture Woods Richardson being just named Richards that seems to be the character limit for an acceptable looking NOB with that size font. And in the case of the Reds uniforms it seems like it is 7 character limit before it starts getting too long.

    I was literally thinking the same thing. Looking at that picture, the “NACION” part is mostly center and that looks too big with only being six letters!

    These things look stupid. Teams should modify the type size and spacing so that the result doesn’t look like a clown show. That is not difficult to do.

    At what point does a ridiculously arching NOB start to affect a player’s performance? Twill applications like that are very stiff and don’t move well with the jersey. He’s basically got a sheet of cardboard on his back!

    Well, now there’s the kiss-cut technique which essentially keeps the tackle twill at one level. I admit that I haven’t been paying close attention to it, so I don’t know how many teams plan to use it. The Saltalamacchia link gives photos of his name rendered on seven different team’s jerseys and there’s a dramatic difference from one-color (mostly legible) to 2 and 3 color fonts (where both ends of the name get lost behind the elbows!)
    Would giving a 15+ lettered last name player a NOB in a single color font, when the rest of the team has 1/2 outline letters work? Maybe. Breaking hyphenated names into to lines seems more extreme.

    I miss the days when NOBs were smaller and one-color, like the 90s Braves. I would prefer a team go NNOB to what we have today for most MLB teams.

    The Phillies font works well. It’s readable from a distance and you can fit a lot. Just look what it did for Nick Castellanos
    Reds- link
    Phils – link

    I wish all NOBs were rendered in a simple sans serif block that was vertically arched. It would be infinitely more readable than radially arched, and it would look fantastic, even with longer NOBs.

    I think this is actually the most reasonable answer. But every team has to develop their own bespoke font, and to stand out the designs become more and more overwrought. With more compound named players, this was bound to happen.

    Or teams could be inventive and use a pseudonym, nickname or even a first name for guys like this. Seconding the point elsewhere about this being potentially impactful on a player’s performance

    “What’s your name son?”
    “Christian Encarnacion-Strand”
    “That’s too hard. We’ll call you Strand”
    “But that’s not my name”
    “It is now, kid”

    Disagree. We already have enough suffixes and player’s late grandmother’s last names added on jerseys as it is. That’ll open a whole new can of worms that gets us back to HE HATE ME. And how long is too long, giving certain players an option that others don’t? Your last name is your last name.

    Nope. Chin-Lung Hu has that particular record.


    And when Hu got to first base, the late Vin Scully said

    “Shades of Abbott and Costello, I can finally say Hu’s on First base.” link

    Fair enough. Looked in a couple of other places, found a player from 1903 who had one plate appearance in MLB (a walk). His name was Ed Hug. link

    “That distinction is currently held by Twins pitcher Simeon Woods Richardson (15 letters, 16 characters)

    – Paul, he doesn’t have a hyphen between Woods and Richardson in that picture. Shouldn’t his record be 15 letters, 15 characters?

    What about double stacking the names? Hey graphic design gurus lets see what that looks like because this looks like ….well it doesn’t look good

    Double stacking looks really, really awful. One of the Cubs’ affiliates has NOBs and poor Pete Crow-Armstrong has a double-stacked NOB there (can’t find a picture). Seeing makes me *really* want the Cubs to go back to NNOB more than ever.

    Haha, Hyphenated last names are not sustainable. Wait until one hyphenated name person marries another, and then have kids. Last names in general are a strange thing, being in favor of the husband’s family name over the wife’s. I think a couple of countries have even banned these.

    In México, we legally use both paternal and maternal last names (we don’t hyphenate) so if a man named Pérez González marries a woman named López Sánchez the kids names would be Pérez López

    NNOB is the way to go in all of sports. Read the number, read the program and you will know who it is.

    Seems like The Reds have used that uniform set a whole lot longer than any of their others in modern history. Bring back the ’69 look..

    Wasn’t it back then that they had the gigantic NOBs that made poor Dave Concepcion look so ridiculous?

    I think they should just drop NOBs entirely and have nice big readable numbers.

    if we can all agree that the primary function of the NOB is for informational purposes and not as a “design element” then why is this even a damn issue? It seems almost absurd. Just make the damn font smaller????? Why is this ever a thing?

    I mean seriously though…this is design 101, right? Am I missing some obscure regulation by MLB that ALL NOB’s MUST be the same size font? Maybe thats it and I’m ignorant to that fact. In which case I will shut up. lol

    Back when Rawlings and Russell made the uniforms, there was a thinner font that they used for players with longer names. The Mets had it; Darryl Strawberry’s name was in the thin font as long as he was there.

    There’s even an ultra-thin variant for players like Eric Stuckenschneider: link

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