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Did They Run Out of Letters, or Just Run Out of Space?

Meet Chase Johnson-Mullins, a pitching prospect in the Braves’ system. He has a hyphenated surname — something we’ve seen before and will surely be seeing more of as more married couples choose to go that route. But the really interesting thing is that the Braves shortened his NOB to J-Mullins.

What shall we call this? SNOB is already taken (for school name on back), so we could go with ShNOB (shortened name on back). It’s also an HNOB (hyphenated name on back), and it may be a nickNOB (nickname on back).

It’s worth noting that “Johnson-Mullins” has 14 letters — the same number as “Saltalamacchia,” which currently holds the record for the longest NOB in MLB history. This raises some additional questions: If Johnson-Mullins makes it to the bigs, would his 14-letter surname count as a tie with Saltalamacchia’s surname? Would “Johnson-Mullins” actually break Salty’s record, because the hyphen would count as an additional character? Or should hyphenated names be put in a completely different category because they’re basically two words?

Before you answer, keep in mind that many one-word surnames started out as two words. Most people named Johnson, for example, can be traced back to someone who was literally John’s son. And what about a player like former Giants pitcher William VanLandingham, whose surname literally means “from Landingham”?


(My thanks to Harrison Huntley for the J-Mullins screen shot.)

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Sweet 16 uni rankings and trivia: Quick, when’s the last time an NCAA tournament team with a double-digit seeding number wore white twice in the same year? Answer: Never! But it will happen for the first time on Friday, when No. 10 Syracuse (which wore white for its second-round game Middle Tennessee State) faces off against No. 11 Gonzaga.

Syracuse and Gonzaga both fared pretty well in my Sweet 16 uni rankings, which are up now on ESPN.

(My thanks to Phil for the link about double-digit seeds wearing white.)

• • • • •

Baby, baby, make me loco: Lots of uni-noteworthy aspects to yesterday’s Rays/Cuba game in Havana. One thing at a time:

• The game was color vs. color.

• The Rays’ players were escorted onto the field by very small Cuban children wearing mono-blue baseball uniforms.

• One of the umps was wearing an outdated shirt and a 2014 postseason cap patch. (

• Here’s the logo that appeared on the ball.

• The bases had Rays logos, even though Cuba was, obviously, the home team.

• The players exchanged jerseys after the game.

•  As far as I can tell, the Rays didn’t wear a patch for the occasion, which I actually find refreshing.

(My thanks to Pat Costello and Steve Hemsath for their contributions to this section.)

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Lucky fella: As I’ve made overabundantly clear lately, Monday was my birthday. Some pals joined me at a local seafood joint that night to raise a few glasses, slurp a few oysters, and celebrate our friendship. A few of them went a step further by bringing me presents, which was completely unnecessary but very much appreciated.

My friend Rex, who hosts the NYC area’s best radio show, is a huge baseball fan, so he gave me a phantom baseball from the 1994 World Series, which of course never took place because of the strike (for all of these photos, you can click to enlarge):

My friends Jon and Karen, who run the excellent Grade “A” Fancy site (among many other creative projects), gave me this can of Huberd’s Shoe Grease, because they figured I’d like the package design — and they were right!:

I’d never heard of Huberd’s before. Despite its old-school package design, it’s still made today. Nice!

My longtime friend and financial advisor Nicole has already given me the best gift ever, because she introduced me to the Tugboat Captain, but she also gave me a nice assortment of pieces from her vast collection of swizzle sticks:

And then there was Marty Buccafusco. Marty is a Uni Watch reader, my neighbor, captain of my bocce team (whose games I’m rarely able to attend due to scheduling conflicts, but Marty never gives me shit about that), and a good friend. He’s also a man who knows how to get the most fun out of any occasion. He presented me with a massive hunk of raw beef — a three-pound pin bone sirloin (sometimes referred to as a “man steak”)! Here are some pics, including a shot of the butcher holding the hunk of dry-aged beef from which the steak was cut:

It’s funny enough to be given a massive hunk of raw meat, but all the more so when it takes place at a seafood restaurant. The staff was really nice about everything and graciously agreed to store the steak in their walk-in fridge for the rest of the evening after we all gawked at it for a bit. I hope to share it with Marty in the very near future.

There was also a cake, which the Tugboat Captain had secretly baked on Saturday (when I was off at that automata show in New Jersey) and dropped off at the restaurant. Unfortunately, nobody got a good photo of it, which is a shame, because it was beautiful. More importantly, it was super-delicious — chocolate with mocha frosting, which is my favorite. My friend Michelle got this shot of me blowing out the candles, which doesn’t do justice to the cake but at least gives a sense of the moment:

It was a great night, and that was on top of what had already been a great day. I’m lucky to have so many great friends, and luckier still to have the Captain, who made this one of the best birthdays ever. My thanks to all of them, and also to all the Uni Watch readers who send kind words and thoughts my way — you’re the best.

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The Ticker
By Paul

Baseball News: Here’s some rare color footage of the 1957 Braves, including Henry Aaron’s pennant-winning homer (from Alan Tompas). … Lou Gehrig’s old house is up for sale (from my pal David Brown). … New uniforms for the Samsung Lions. … Remember how the Fresno Grizzlies became the Tacos for one game last season? The Lehigh Valley IronPigs are doing a similar food-based promotion on June 10, when they’ve become the Cheesesteaks. Fun stuff, and they did a good job with that website. … Good story on players who bat righty and throw lefty. I fit that profile, incidentally — I’m left-handed, but I’ve always hit righty. When I was a kid and we all started playing stickball in the street, everyone else batted righty and I thought that was just, you know, the way you hit. Didn’t realize there was any other way. By the time I discovered otherwise, it was too late (article link from Phil). … Levi’s is now making denim jackets with MLB logos on the back (from Phil). … Here’s more on the gold-lettered jerseys that the Royals will wear for their first two games of the season (from Jason Gomez). … Yet another set of Star Wars jerseys, this time for the Durham Bulls (thanks, Phil). … A hundred years ago, the Tigers wore a block D, not an old English D. That’s Ralph Young from the 1916 squad (from Alex Dewitt). … No more dipping for Mets and Yankees players, as New York is poised to become the latest city to ban smokeless tobacco at ticketed sporting events, joining San Francisco, Boston, and Los Angeles. The NYC ban, passed yesterday by the City Council, will become law once the mayor signs the bill, which is expected to happen before Opening Day. … Man, look at the striped stirrups and jerseys worn by Livingston High School in California (from Val Sobrevilla). … This is hilarious: Diamondbacks outfielders practice their cutoff throws by throwing at a poster of a player — but that player is shown wearing last year’s uniform (thanks, Phil). … The Cubs are using reprints of lineup cards from notable games for their season ticket boxes. … The Zac Brown band will be playing a show at the Mets’ stadium later this year, so the team has given Mets jerseys to the band members, complete with lots of lowercase letters for percussionist Daniel de los Reyes’s NOB (thanks, Phil). … The Nats have chosen two local food purveyors — a high-end frankfurter operation and a dumpling vendor — to sell their wares at the ballpark this season (from Tommy Turner). … Check out the bizarrely minimalist jersey design that the L.A. Angels — who at the time were a minor league team — wore in 1952. You can see it being worn by various players here, here, and here (rare non-auto racing submission from David Firestone).

NFL News: The Ravens’ website currently has a “25” memorial icon in the left-hand sidebar, presumably for CB Tray Walker, who died last week in a dirt bike accident. Maybe I missed this, but I haven’t heard anything about the team wearing a patch or decal in the coming season, although I assume they’ll do so (from Bryan Duklewski). … The Lions will apparently have new alternates this fall (from Chris McFarlane). … Speaking of the Lions, the results of my Lions-redesign contest will be posted on ESPN tomorrow. … The Browns considered buying back Johnny Football polyester shirts — but then said, “Eh, never mind.” … Among the NFL rule changes approved yesterday is this: the definition of a horse collar tackle now includes a defender grabbing a jersey’s nameplate.

College Football News: UVA head coach Bronco Mendenhall is having his players practice without uni numbers and is also making them wear black until they “earn” the right to wear school colors (from James Gilbert). … Buffalo is adding a memorial nose bumper decal for former player Solomon Jackson, who died last month (thanks, Phil).

Hockey News: Someone has redesigned each NHL team’s uniforms (thanks, Phil). … The NHL has announced its corporate partners for the World Cup of Hockey. … The Senators’ 25th-anniversary logo, which was unveiled a while ago, appears to have been revised (good spot by Patrick Thomas).

NBA News: Yesterday’s post about college hoops players wearing 0 and 00 prompted the following note from Phil Bergen, who brought up something we’ve covered before but that I had forgotten about: “I recall seeing early-1950s photos of the Rochester Royals showing players wearing single-digit numbers with a zero in front of the number — 05 instead of 5, and so on.” Sure enough — look here, here, and here. … The Long Island Nets — Brooklyn’s D-League affiliate — will unveil their uniforms tomorrow (thanks, Phil). … Speaking of the Nets, they wore their sleeved grey “Brooklyn Dodgers tribute” alts last night. In a cruel twist of fate, the Nets currently have a player named Robinson on the team — F Thomas Robinson — but look what number he wears: so close, yet so far! Shouldn’t they have issued him a new number for this game? (From Stan Schwartz.)

College Hoops News: If you go the 48:58 mark of this podcast, you’ll hear a hilarious analysis of those “Always Reppin'” Nike T-shirts that have been so ubiquitous during the tournament (from Yellow Away Kit).

Soccer News: Chelsea is rumored to have a striking new kit design (from Tim Cross). … Here’s a ranking of Arsenal kits in the EPL era (thanks, Phil). … The Guardian ran a comic strip making fun of England’s new kit (from Ben Ward). … In a related item, here’s one observer’s picks for England’s five worst kits of all time. … UNC is adding a memorial patch for former player Kirk Urso, a UNC alum who died after six appearances with the Columbus Crew (from James Gilbert). … New kits for Norway (thanks, Phil). … New kits for Slovenia, too. … This is pretty great: The Houston Dash have a tequila sunrise-ish kit (from Yellow Away Kit). … New kit for the Netherlands (from @MisterPrez32). … Here’s a rave review and lots of photos of the new Uruguay kit (from Mikey Traynor). … Heartwarming message from the Nigerian Football Federation: “Bring jerseys, leave your weapons at home.”

Grab Bag: Faaascinating article on how Hasidic Jews in Brooklyn are dressing modestly, as per longstanding religious dictates, while still being fashionable. … Interesting to see that Gawker Media founder Nick Denton wore a suit with a shawl collar, rather than a more traditional notched lapel, for a court appearance last Friday. Gawker lost a civil case to former pro wrestler Hulk Hogan that day, although the verdict is being appealed. … Here’s a page where you can vote on the best college sailing flag (from Andy Sherriff). … UNC’s bike-share program features bikes rendered in Carolina blue, of course (from James Gilbert). … Here are Mitchell & Ness’s best-selling retro/throwback jerseys, across all sports, broken down by state (from @darrenrovell). … New logo for Cincinnati Children’s Hospital. … Here’s an article on the story behind the Isuzu name and logo. … Great video report on the last American newspaper that still sets type on a Linotype machine (big thanks to Ronnie Poore). … In response to yesterday’s terrorist attacks in Brussels, several monuments and buildings around the world were lit last night in black, yellow, and red — the colors of the Belgian flag. But the light display at 1 World Trade Center in NYC appeared to be red, white, and blue, causing confusion and, in some cases, consternation. … Phife Dawg, a founding member of the rap group A Tribe Called Quest, died yesterday. He was reportedly “the first [rapper] to wear throwback jerseys in the early ’90s.”

Comments (75)

    I’m trying to remember if Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink ever wore a shortened form on his last name on his back. I have a recollection of “Vennegoor of H.” at at least one stop in his career, though google doesn’t back me up. Maybe that was just in the FIFA video games. (His is basically a hyphenated name – the middle word means “or”)

    How does Northwestern’s burgee not have Northwestern stripes? That would be like a UCLA football jersey without that beautiful shade of blue and the traditional circular UCLA stripes around the shoul–
    Never mind.

    To answer your question about the influx of zeros. I think the recent trend started with Jared Sullinger, who went to Ohio State in 2010. He wore a single zero because his brother J.J. wore it from 2003-2006 at Ohio State and it is close to Ohio State’s block O logo. Ever since then, I’ve noticed more more and more players wearing it, including two more Ohio State kids.

    Why not just “J-Mull”. Yeah boyeee!!

    Also, is it just my eyes, or do those “L”s look like upside-down “7”s??
    Actually, at first glance I thought this was what the story was about.

    a buddy of mine is the sailing coach at St Mary’s, who is in the #burgeebracket. I am going to have to pass this on to him.

    Chase J-Mullins isn’t alone: Jake Forster-Caskey of Milton Keynes Dons also has a Shortened, hyphenated NOB.


    In the last line of the College Football ticker it says “died in last month”. There’s something missing.

    Is anyone else annoyed by the fact that the Cubs season ticket holder called the lineup cards, scorecards? He then goes on to do repeatedly in replies to his tweet. You would think someone who goes to that many baseball games would know the difference.

    He most likely doesn’t go to that many games. Too many season ticket holders sell the majority to re-sellers.

    Just my 2 cents.

    Link problem in the soccer section of the ticker — if you click on “a tequila sunrise-ish kit”, you end up on a Twitter error page. Seems as if something regarding an item for new Slovenian kits and something related to said tequila sunrise kits got mashed together in the source code.

    For the discussion; if it fits let them wear what lettering they want (unless they play for a team that doesn’t do NOB, obviously).

    Another great ESPN article, with so many tradition heavy programs (play and uniforms) it is kind of a have and have-nots in the uni-verse for the sweet 16.

    The tweets from the Browns non-buyback program are gold (or orange? or brown?)
    “@Browns Heard you discussed a Manziel jersey swap..Could we make that happen? I’ll trade it in for a Holcomb or Couch jersey at this point:- @Nate_Brulport

    “@Nike please give me my money back for my Johnny Manziel jersey. You guys decided to endorse him.”-@kevdrews27

    That would be one heck of a precedent for the NFL/outfitters. If a rookie contract/sponsorship is a dud (out of league or relegated to hyper-backup because of problems IN their control) by the end of their first professional contract they can refund all purchasers a percentage of the purchase. So Manziel would get a refund, but Rams fans who bought a Bradford jersey wouldn’t.

    Or people could avoid this problem by, you know, no longer wasting money on overpriced polyester shirts.

    Wait, didn’t I say I was gonna ease off on that critique?


    I don’t mind that idea. It is a kind of risk/reward system. But if they’re going to push temporary players on us, we could only provide them with temporary funds.

    Some interesting things from MLB’s Snapchat story from the game in Cuba. First, there’s a coach wearing the home jersey:
    Then a heavyset on-field cameraman wearing a Puerto Rican WBC cap:

    In retrospect, I don’t actually know that that was a coach and was only guessing.

    Puzzling syntax in Soccer Ticker: “New kits a tequila sunrise-ish kit (from Yellow Away Kit).”

    The story “Tikki Tikki Tembo” provides an object lesson on the folly of lengthy names.

    I just wonder if we’ll get to where hyphenated name has kid with hyphenated name and we end up with Bill Johnson-Smith-Willams-Sanders

    Hyphenated last names were a trend in the 1980s and 1990s, but I’m not sure there is evidence that “more married couples are choosing to go that route.” If there is proof that it is becoming more common, I’d like to see it.

    My last name is actually three separate words with two bulky spaces stuck in there, I guess luckily for me they’re not hyphens, although sometimes folks like to put hyphens in the spaces. You seem like an authority on uncommon last names, could you help?

    sometimes folks like to put hyphens in the spaces…

    Tell me about it. – Paul Lukas, editor/founder of Uni Watch (not Uni-Watch)

    Man, look at the striped stirrups and jerseys worn by Livingston High School in California (from Val Sobrevilla).

    Well… I like the stirrups, but the tequila sunrise pattern requires one to take more liberties with the team colors. Using the bands as untinted blocks of color just creates a mess.

    In response to yesterday’s terrorist attacks in Brussels, several monuments and buildings around the world were lit last night in black, yellow, and red – the colors of the Belgian flag. But the light display at 1 World Trade Center in NYC appeared to be red, white, and blue, causing confusion and, in some cases, consternation.

    Tough call. To some, a ham-fisted gesture of American jingoism; to others, an arms race of slacktivism. I see it as a case of mission creep clouding the greater good of having tall buildings be conspicuous in the dark.

    The more obvious New York venue for a commemoration is the Empire State Building; they commemorate events on a regular basis and can do so in a moment’s notice now that they have converted the lights to LEDs (which give them the choice of 16 million colors).

    Good choice, since very few of the global light displays of Belgian colors were very satisfying. With one “color” being black, it made for many not very effective displays, such as on the Eiffel Tower. The more literal display of a projected picture of a Belgian flag at the Trevi Fountain was a rare exception, but it only worked because the image had enough visual context to make the black element of the flag read as a color rather than as just un-illuminated space.

    HNOB for hyphenated names, sHNOB for shortened HNOBs. I’m not so sure we’ll be seeing any kind of huge growth in the phenomenon, though. The hyphenated name thing only works for the first generation, and we’re already at least a generation-and-a-half into the phenomenon. John Smith and Sally Jones may feel like they’re making a stand against the patriarchy or whatever by naming their son Chris Smith-Jones. But even though young Chris will grow up to be even more forward-thinking than his folks, he and his wife Lisa Thatcher-Johnson will not be naming their son Troy Smith-Jones-Thatcher-Johnson. Even law and accounting firms typically give up after the third surnamne.

    And yeah, the hyphen is an integral part of the name if it’s present, so Johnson-Mullins is longer than Saltalamacchia. Suffixes like JR or III, however, are not integral parts of the surname (they’re actually part of one’s given name), so they don’t count, and also should never appear as part of a NOB unless necessary to distinguish between a father and son on the same team.

    Congrats to Paul on the phantom ’94 World Series ball! I have one of those, given to my dad by CBS at the time, and it’s easily one of my most prized possessions. Worthless as a collectible, since my kid brother played ball with it once and scuffed it up, so I tell people it’s game-used. Which makes me like it even better – it’s a 1994 World Series baseball that actually got used to play baseball.

    Same here. Finally an excuse for not making it to the bigs!
    When I was 7 years old, I somehow picked up on the fact that Ricky Henderson was that way, so he became one of my favorite players.

    I’m guessing it’s only rare in the Majors. At that level you don’t see a lot of lefty’s fielding in general, at least in the in-field. Turning double plays with a south paw at 3B/SS/2B/C is awkward and scouts probably red flag any upcoming lefty talent at those position. Double jeopardy when you’re also a right hand batter. Also note this article doesn’t count pitchers, only fielders.

    My hunch is that if you surveyed little leagues and sandlot ball, we’d be more represented per capita compared to the MLB. Still, only 48 players in history is incredible!

    I’m a lifetime member of the bats right throws left club as well. While the percentage may be slightly greater in lesser leagues, I don’t think it’s by much. Too many dads wanting their kiddo to make the bigs groom left-handed hitters to gain the closer to first base advantage.

    The only other example of a hyphenated name that jumps into my head


    The guy’s name is Johnson-Mullins, it seems to me that’s what should be on the back of his jersey.

    As someone with a difficult last name and an unusual accent in the name, I’m unusually sensitive to this. Getting your name right shouldn’t be a subject of discussion with Majestic or Nike or whoever letters the jersey.

    I’m more troubled by the lack of vertical arching on the Braves jerseys ;)

    If link can make it work, anyone can.

    Manchester United has a bunch of long NOBs this season, with Schneiderlin, Schweinsteiger and Ander Herrera.

    I think “Men at Work” might have mentioned this: he never made the bigs, but among those rare righty batters/lefty throwers, you can also include a Yale first baseman by the name of George H.W. Bush.

    About the only change I could endorse was the green+yellow colorway for the Minnesota Wild. But if you’re not gonna design the breezers, you show your cards as a dabbler.

    I know this has been discussed before, but please remind me, what’s the difference between a “colorway” and a “color scheme” ? I rarely hear the former, and to be honest, it sounds like marketing jargon.

    “Colorway” is corporatespeak for — well, once you know it’s corporatespeak, it doesn’t really matter what it’s for, right?

    During the opening titles to that 1957 Braves film, they use an image of (I believe) Cleveland Municipal Stadium in the background. It certainly isn’t County Stadium.

    What about people whose dominant kicking leg is the opposite side as their dominant hand. My father and I are both right handed (although my mother is always quick to point out that he “plays jacks left handed, which I didn’t realize was a thing) and we kick with our left foot. Another notable member of this fraternity is Ben Roethlisberger.

    I’m a real weirdo on this front: I punt with my left leg (not that I have many opportunities to punt these days), but I kick things on the ground (soccer, kickball, placekick, rock on the street) with my right leg.

    Can’t explain why.

    I think left-thanders, in general, are more inclined to be ambidextrous than their right-handed brethren. It has been my experience that left-handers are better with their right extremities than right-handers are with their left. Probably a result of society’s engineering ergonomics which naturally favor right-handed individuals.

    Paul, do you know if you are left or right eye dominant?

    Typically right handed people are left brain dominant. There is no such relationship with lefties. They are typically ambidextrous-brained.

    I’m cross dominant as well. I do some things left handed, some things right handed, with no apparent reason why.

    I throw left, kick right.

    I was left legged up until I was playing rec soccer in 1st grade. A kid awkwardly fell on my left leg and I limped the rest of the season, and learned to kick with my right leg. For whatever reason I never went back.

    Marty and I have decided to wait until it’s warm enough to grill (which, given the current state of the weather, should be any day now). So I’ve given the steak a very good freezer wrap popped it in the deep freeze. It’ll be fine — beef freezes quite well with no loss in quality as long as it’s wrapped properly — and I’m sure it’ll be worth the wait.

    “Someone has redesigned each NHL team’s uniforms”

    But WHY did they give the Sabres the angry goat head logo again? That was two logos ago!

    Happy Birthday (belated), Paul. The only other 1994 World Series ball I have ever seen before is in the Hall of Fame – my buddy and I were fascinated with it when we first saw it and both took photos of it. That’s as cool of a birthday gift as you’ve ever posted.

    The Shoe Grease is a great gift. I admittedly had never heard of the product but ordered a can today after reading the post. I am constantly looking any product that will keep my work boots looking somewhat decent, and having just ordered a new pair, it seemed worth a try. Here’s to the power of advertisement.

    Here’s to the power of advertisement.

    Nope, not advertisement at all — just me sharing a story, and you following up on it.

    That’s how commerce works sometimes. It’s much nicer than advertising, don’t you think?

    (Late) proofreading: “One of the umps was wearing an outdated shirt and a 2014 postseason cap patch. (” There’s a extraneous parenthesis at the end.

    I think the Penguins had a couple of guys with hyphenated names during training camp who were given their choice of which side of the name to use.

    Paul – Reviewing your ESPN/Sweet 16 piece, you linked a large picture of Plumlee. It appears he has a smiley face tattoo in the right under arm region.

    Admittedly not a uniform discussion, but seems odd/funny.

    Great work sir!

    I think the bats righty throws lefty doesn’t show up much because your throwing arm is out front and vulnerable. In high school my friend the center fielder was a righty batter lefty thrower. Got hit by a pitch on the elbow and missed 3 games because he couldn’t throw till the swelling in his elbow went down.

    I’ve seen major league pitchers bat throw this way too, and I wonder why the team lets them do it. Turning a pitcher around isn’t like giving up a .300 average.

    I am also in the minority of people who would bat right and throw left. I have figured out that everything I do across my body is right handed
    swing a bat, golf club tennis racket anything I swing is right handed. I also write right handed and eat right handed. I am also a bowler like yourself, I bowl left handed and shoot and dribble a basketball left handed.
    Everything that is not across my body is left handed. I kick and punt right footed though. I don’t know how mine starter though. Just one of those strange things I guess.

    Re: players with ‘0’ in front of their number: Benito Santiago (catcher for the Padres in the 90’s) wore 09 for a number of years. I don’t remember ever knowing the reason though.

Comments are closed.