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Reds Prospect Poised to Make NOB History Tonight (Maybe)

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Good morning! Hope everyone had a good weekend.

Now then: Potentially historic news is brewing in Major League Baseball, as word came down last night that the Reds are calling up corner infielder Christian Encarnacion-Strand from their Triple-A affiliate, the Louisville Bats.

As you may recall, the Reds made some waves last winter when they posted the photo shown at the top of this page, showing Encarnacion-Strand in a Reds jersey with his full NOB in all its hyphenated glory (its prodigious length accentuated by the Reds’ clunky NOB font).

Encarnacion-Strand took part in the Reds’ spring training camp as a minor league invitee, and I was looking forward to seeing his NOB on the field. Unfortunately, he wore only part of his surname during that stint:

Boooo! Why would the Reds tease us with that earlier photo if they didn’t have the courage of their convictions?

Even worse, Encarnacion-Strand was eventually optioned to Triple-A Louisville — a team that goes NNOB:

What a waste of a fun name!

But now that Encarnacion-Strand is poised to make his big league debut, he has a chance to make history. The current record for the longest NOB to appear on an MLB jersey is held by Twins pitcher Simeon Woods Richardson (15 letters plus a space), who appeared in one game last October:

Encarnacion-Strand’s surname, clocking in at 17 letters plus a hyphen, would set the new standard for MLB NOBs — if he and the Reds choose to go that route. If the Reds send him out there with the foreshortened “Encarnacion” (which Reds beat writer and friend of Uni Watch C. Trent Rosecrans says is the most likely option), that would be a major missed opportunity, both for him and for them. Come on, Cincy — let the kid set the record!

It’s worth noting that the Reds have some experience with lengthy hyphenated NOBs, having previously employed Dee Strange-Gordon (13 letters plus a hyphen):

Anyway, the Reds have known for a while that Encarnacion-Strand was on a big league trajectory, so they’ve had plenty of time to prepare for this moment. Have they developed a compressed version of their NOB font? A double-decker treatment? Come on, people — make it happen!

To be clear: I don’t think any of these loooong, semicircular NOBs actually look “good” (especially in the Reds’ NOB font), but there’s a novelty to them that I find irresistible. That’s why I’m rooting for Encarnacion-Strand to be wearing his full surname when the host the Giants tonight.

And please, Reds, whatever you do, don’t ever trade this kid to the Yankees.

Of course, all of these NOBs — Encarnacion-Strand, Woods Richardson, and Strange-Gordon — carry an asterisk in the NOB sweepstakes because they’re compound surnames. For mononymic surnames, Salty (14 letters) still holds the record.

Update, 2:20pm: It appears that my plea has fallen on deaf ears:


(My thanks to Twitter-er @_RF30, who was the first to bring Encarnacion-Strand’s call-up to my attention.)



Can of the Day

How do you make peanut butter? Well, apparently you start by milking a peanut-shaped cow, and from there it’s pretty self-explanatory.

Comments (30)

    Good thing print publications don’t bother with full score boxes these days. Boston was a nightmare with “Saltalamacchia” and “Middlebrooks” both in the lineup. The surnames above are even worse. Ah, fun with agate and tabs …

    I always liked the awkward agate abbreviations – “S’macchia” or “Sltmchia”, “M’brooks” and so on.

    And no disrespect to either player, but it’s still somewhat shocking that the Sox won 97 games and the World Series with Salty and Middlebrooks in the regular lineup.

    I guess the Reds lack of national exposure really hides their NOB font problem. Looking at these pictures it appears that any name longer than 7 or 8 letters is going to look bad with that font. I’m just waiting for a name long enough that it creates a full circle around the numbers, peak absurdity.

    With baseball I’m generally a fan of NNOB. The nature of the game is such you really don’t need identifiers. An announcer can easily call the game without NOB or even numbers.

    But the Reds (and Tigers) have always had exxtra-large NOB fonts. Look at a picture of Dave Concepcion (10 letters, one of which is an I) from the 1980s; it was a problem then. The chunky font with shadowing doesn’t make it easier, that’s for sure.

    This identifies a few issues in modern uniforms.
    1. Every team doesn’t need a bespoke font, because the need to be unique leads to overdesigned fonts for the sake of standing out, leading to what the Reds have been wearing. For as much as I like seeing a little variety, leagues like the English Premier League and Spanish LaLiga seem to do just fine in terms of having all teams wear a standard font for league competitions.
    2. In American naming culture, we are seeing more double names, with or without hyphens. But for decades, Latino players have only used their father’s surname as their own; when in their home countries, their legal name lists both of their parents’ surnames. If hundreds of Latino players are fine using one of their last names, I am not sure why American-born players need to use both, when it looks like this. I get that there may be a perfectly valid reason that a player wants to add a second name, but it should be the player’s legal last name on the back… the end.
    3. Extending point 2, enough with the “III”, “Jr.” and so on. Unless your dad is in the league as you are playing, you don’t need the extra identifier. Cal Ripken Jr. played his whole career without his suffix and nobody confused him with his dad. Worse still are the “[PLAYER NAME] Sr.”; we get it, you had a kid, but he is probably still in diapers. No need to differentiate. I don’t use my suffix professionally, and the only other person for whom I was named is no longer living, so no confusion at family gatherings.
    The NOB should be an identifier and little more. In the same way that a player can’t wear a triple digit number or pi in most sports worldwide, there can be regulations that serve a purpose and limit the insanity.

    To your second point, I would imagine that a large number of people with hypenated last names have the full hyhenated name as their legal name. That is certainly the way it is for all of the people I know (including my wife and children).

    A ssilly as some of today’s bespoke fonts are, particularly for NOBs, I wouldn’t want to see every team using the same number font like some of those soccer leagues do. Already maybe half the teams use the standard semi-block font (that the Mets use), and I wish it were less common. The McAuliffe font has disappeared to the point where people think it belongs exclusively to the Red Sox. I don’t mind distinctive number fonts as long as they aren’t commissioning marketing firms to develop them and have them “tell a story”. Distinct-but-normal-looking fonts, like the Cubs’ Eurostile variation, Montreal’s Clarendon (?), the Phillies’ old Helvetica… those look great.

    I miss the days of single color, smaller font names on nameplates.

    It will eventually be a digitized soft screen info-ticker sewn to the jersey. NOB, statistics, favorite music tracks and movies, names of kids, ads for Carl’s Jr. BLURN!

    Also, I’m looking at this Reds jersey and wondering why there’s black shadowing. This would look so much better just red on white (or road grey).

    Not a Yankees fan but a big fan of NNOB. Keep it clean, just the numbers and done. That goes for all sports. I grew up in a country where nobody would wear his or het name on a jersey unless it was a funny nickname for a student tournament.

    I feel exactly the same way. Particularly teams that have used both the NOB and NNOB styles; you see them in NNOB and they look so much better.

    Here’s Nomar Garciaparra from his time with the mid-2000s NNOB Cubs: link

    Imagine an eleven-letter NOB hanging over that number 5. Would look horrible!

    Off my lawn rant loading… Since I started watching sports in the 1970s, uniforms fascinated me. The key part of the statement being UNIFORM. I can’t begin to describe how much I hate different colors on belts, undershirts, and socks. And names on back are out of hand with more of the “look at me” generations. (Gen-X here, so no Boomer comments). Hyphens and Jr., Sr., III are the worst offenders as someone pointed out in a previous comment. I prefer a simple small font name on the back. If you have a long name, the letters should shrink. I also would not mind going back to no names on a jersey. I also live on fantasy island thinking it will ever come back. Don’t get me started on advertising patches.

    Young Millennial here … “Boomer” is more about your attitude than your age. Not calling you anything, just clarifying the usage.

    Names on back are out of hand? Look at me?

    What in the Ellis Island is that nonsense? If a person has a name, you put it on their jersey. If their name has a hyphen, or is too long, or has accents, you find a way to make it work. You don’t tell a person to use a different name because it doesn’t fit your template.

    About not trading this guy to the Yankees, theYankees have just put advertising on their uniforms, can NOBs be far behind?

    (To the Yankees uni-dept.)Yep, “Tradition” and “Lore” and all that stuff got flushed when that ad got stitched…
    Just do a full overhaul, change that choppy logo, drop those outdated pinstripes, no more boring road Grey’s, get somma them BFBS roads, nickname NOBs, add some pewter accents, and finally make a rule, Only pajama bottoms, stirrups banned…

    Hot Take-do baseball players need numbers/names any more?

    Numbers started so people in the stadium could identify players (“you can’t tell a player without a scorecard”)
    Names started so people at home could identify players without a scorecard.

    BUT, in 21st century baseball, if you are at the park, the ultra HD scoreboards display who is batting, who is next up for both teams, the current defense, the the pitch progression of the current at bat, etc.

    At home, the scorebug tells you the batter and how they are doing today, the pitcher and their pitch count.

    And in case you are missing any game info that you may need, you log into an app and it will tell you.

    Numbers look cool on an uniform and players identify with it. I have always loved my amateur basketball uniform numbers: 49, 66, 53 and 66 again. My other favorite numbers are 6, 23, 32, 33 and 34. Plus 76. But I agree on NOB: not necessary.

    Numbers are necessary in sports like basketball for the calling of fouls and whatnot. Baseball doesn’t really even need contrasting home/away uniforms since the fielding and hitting teams are always wearing different equipment. Everything about baseball uniforms is essentially obsolete.

    Since I believe the Reds originally had their NOBs below the number, it would be cool if they had “Encarnacion” above the # and “Strand” below

    Different sport but I’m reminded of how the Steelers, needing to fit Roethlisburger on a jersey just used smaller letters on his name plate, why don’t the reds just do that?

    Just a guess but Steelers have straight name plates, and had to make the letters smaller, the Reds have the rainbow curve so they have the actual room to keep regular size letters…

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