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What Will J.D. Martinez Wear on the Back of His Mets Jersey?

The Mets signed veteran DH J.D. Martinez in late March, shortly before the start of the regular season. He didn’t suit up for any spring training games and then agreed to get some much-needed at-bats by beginning the season in the minors. It was originally thought that he’d be called up to the bigs after 10 days or so, but that schedule got pushed back when Martinez developed soreness and had to be shut down for a bit. After all that, he will finally make his Mets debut tomorrow.

I’ve been following these developments with keen interest, in part because, as a Mets fan, I’m eager to have Martinez’s bat added to the team’s lineup. But I’m also interested because Martinez has had a long-running uniform quirk, and I’m curious to see if it will continue with the Mets.

Our story begins in Houston, where Martinez played the first three seasons of his career. In those days, his NOB was simple: “Martinez.”

J.D. Martinez with the Astros in 2012.

In the spring of 2014, Martinez was released by the Astros and signed by the Tigers. But Detroit already had DH/catcher Victor Martinez on the roster and apparently wanted to differentiate between the two Martinezes. The normal solution would be to add a first initial to one or both players’ NOBs, but what is the first initial for someone who goes by J.D.? His legal name is Julio Daniel Martinez, but nobody calls him Julio, so “J. Martinez” wouldn’t make sense. It was eventually decided that Victor Martinez’s NOB would remain unchanged, while J.D. added both initials (or, depending on how you look at it, his full name).

J.D. Martinez and Victor Martinez playing for the Tigers in 2014.

In 2017, J.D. Martinez was traded to the Diamondbacks. They did not have any other Martinezes on the roster, so J.D. could go back to wearing just his surname, right? Wrong. He apparently liked having his full name on his jersey, so he stuck with that.

J.D. Martinez joined the D-backs in 2017, when the team was in its “snakeskin and charcoal” phase.

In 2018, Martinez signed a free agent deal with the Red Sox. Like the D-backs, they did not have any other Martinezes on the roster. But J.D. kept on wearing his full name anyway.

J.D. Martinez with the Red Sox in 2018.

In 2023, Martinez joined the Dodgers and — well, you can probably see where this is going.

J.D. Martinez with the Dodgers in 2023.


That brings us up to date. Will Martinez keep his streak alive and once again wear “J.D. Martinez”? As I mentioned earlier, he signed with the Mets toward the end of spring training, so there was no fancy introductory press conference where they presented him with a jersey. He didn’t suit up for any spring training games, and he’s spent the past month or so playing for the Triple-A Syracuse Mets, who don’t have NOBs. It feels like all of this has been a big tease to keep us (or at least keep me) in suspense.

I’m assuming he’ll once again go with the full “J.D. Martinez,” but you never know. Meanwhile, should we consider this an example of a player wearing his full name? Wearing two initials? Is Martinez just his own category?

Comments (17)

    I’m sure this has already been answered, but at what point did sports start with first initial on NOB when you had two players with the surname?
    At this point I think I’d rather just go back to a policy of surname only for NOB.

    There’s no reason to stop, now. But I always look askance of honorifics, numerical suffixes and diacriticals cluttering up the player name. “How are we supposed to know which Smith you are?” “I’m the Smith who wears number twenty-three.”

    I think it will be J.D. Martinez, just to continue the streak and it would be fun if he did, but as I said before I am basically not a fan of any NOB. I grew up cheering for Euro and South American soccer players in the 70s and early 80s who did not have a NOB and I have always liked the clean aesthetic of only a huge number on the back of any jersey.

    Looking at all of those past examples just makes me hate the current Nike tiny NOBs all the more.

    I’m trying to remember and maybe I might be tripping but I think BJ Armstrong used his entire name on his Magic jersey while Darrell Armstrong just his last name, on the few games they were on the roster together in 1999. I can’t find photo or video.

    At least “J.D. Martinez” will fit better on the back of the jersey with Nike’s smaller letters. And I forgot how heinous some of those Diamondbacks uniforms were.

    Can he just get traded to the Yankees so our diets no longer include this nothing burger?

    In 86-87 NBA season, Isiah Thomas wore his entire name (first name on top of last name) on Pistons home jersey due to Jim Thomas being on the Pistons roster. Jim Thomas was cut during preseason, and presumably after the uniforms were created.

    Why is he allowed to do this with no other Martinez on the roster? Is he grandfathered in from his days with the Tigers?

    He’ll wear “J.D. MARTINEZ”

    Both “J” and “D” are initials, so definitely not using his full name. We may refer to Carsten Charles Sabbathia as “CC” but that is either a nickname or initials, but definitely not his full name.

    FullNOB are guys like the Youngbloods link

    There should be greater use of FIOB. Unlike the suffixes that are becoming a scourge on uniforms, the first initial does differentiate between teammates with the same last name. Yes, so do the numbers. Understood. But NOB isn’t going away, and if allowing “SMITH SR” for a guy whose son is a newborn and not on the team, we can accept an actual means of identifying teammates via their name. I remember when the Cardinals had Bryn, Lonnie and Ozzie Smith. Different positions and none of them looked like the other but the FIOB looked proper.

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