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Rangers Rookie Leads the League in Diacritical Marks

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Rangers infielder Andy Ibáñez made his big league debut on Tuesday night. He’s a bit of an MLB uni-corn, because his NOB has two diacritical marks — an accent over the A and a tilde over the N.

To my knowledge, Ibáñez’s is only the second MLB player ever to have two diacriticals as part of his NOB. We’ll get to the other player in a few minutes, for now let’s stick with Ibáñez, because his NOB has undergone an interesting evolution over the years. Let’s look at the progression:

1 When Ibáñez played for Cuba in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, he had the tilde but not the accent:

2. Ibáñez defected from Cuba in 2014, signed a minor league contract with the Rangers in 2015, and began playing in their system in 2016. Here’s how he looked at the team’s minor league spring camp in March of that year — no accent, no tilde:

3. Ibáñez’s first minor league assignment in 2016 was with the Hickory Crawdads, who went NNOB.

4. Ibáñez spent the rest of 2016 and all of 2017 with the Frisco RoughRiders, where he had no accent and no tilde:

5. In 2018, Ibáñez was promoted to the Triple-A Round Rock Express. He once again had no accent and no tilde:

6. In 2019, Ibáñez was a non-roster invitee to the Rangers’ big league spring training camp. Again, no accent and no tilde:

7. After failing to make the big league roster, Ibáñez spent the 2019 season with the Triple-A Nashville Sounds, who went NNOB.

8. In 2020, Ibáñez was a non-roster invitee to the Rangers summer training camp ahead of the pandemic-delayed season. For the first time in the Rangers’ system, he had both an accent and a tilde:

9. Earlier this year, Ibáñez was once again a non-roster spring training invitee. And he once again had both the accent and the tilde:

And then he kept both diacritical marks, as seen at the top of this page, when the Rangers promoted him to the bigs earlier on Tuesday.


So that’s Ibáñez. Interesting, right? How weird it must be for a player to see his name rendered in so many different styles.

The only other two-diacritical MLBer I’m aware of is infielder Renato Núñez, who’s currently in the Tigers’ system. His NOB has also undergone a bit of an evolution, so let’s take a look at that:

1. I won’t go through Núñez’s entire minor league career, but as far as I can tell, his minor league NOBs all had no diacriticals:

2. Núñez had cups of coffee with the A’s in 2016 and ’17. Oakland gave him a tilde but no accent:

3. In 2018, Núñez was claimed off waivers by the Rangers. They gave him both the accent and the tilde, just as they would later do for Ibáñez:

4. In mid-May of 2018, Núñez was released by the Rangers and claimed by the Orioles, who outrighted him to the minors. The O’s called him up in July and gave him the full accent/tilde treatment:

5. Núñez was released last winter and signed a minor league contract with the Tigers, who called him up to the bigs on April 11 and gave him both the accent and the tilde:

Núñez has since been outrighted to Detroit’s alternate training site.


Tildes have been part of MLB NOBs since at least the 1980s, but accents are a more recent phenomenon. As I wrote in an ESPN column five years ago, in 2016 MLB issued a memo that began, “With the goal of recognizing and celebrating the diverse culture of Major League Baseball, we respectfully request that all 30 clubs have a formalized process in place to ask every MLB player on their roster if he would like any diacritics (e.g., accent, tilde, etc.) added to his name on his jersey.” Accents have proliferated since then, but Ibáñez and Núñez are the only players — at least that I know of — to have both marks. (Is there someone I’m forgetting? Let me know.)

I don’t think we’ve yet seen an umlaut, cedilla, grave, or circumflex on a big league diamond, but I assume they’ll all make their MLB debuts at some point. For now, though, Ibáñez leads the league in diacriticals.

(Major thanks to Cliff Corcoran for bringing Ibáñez’s big league debut, and his NOB, to my attention.)

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C’mon, blue (continued): Welcome back to Ump Patch Watch, where we obsessively cover the adornments on MLB umpires’ sleeves — or elsewhere. That was the situation on Tuesday night in Boston, where Ryan Blakney was working the plate for the Tigers/Bosox game and appeared to have four memorial patches on his chest protector.

Reader Kevin McLaughlin, who noticed the patches, did a bit of digging and discovered that they were originally worn as sleeve memorials in 2017:

The four umpires represented on the patches are Russ Goetz (RG), Mark Johnson (MJ), Steve Palermo (SP), and Ken Kaiser (KK). Blakney apparently felt so strongly about those four patches that he transferred them from his jersey to his chest protector. Of course, his chest gear might also have other patches that we can’t see because they’re covered up by his jacket. (That would actually be pretty cool — imagine if he’s been saving all the memorial patches from his umpiring career and transferring them to his chest protector when their sleeve terms are up. Something to investigate further!)

That wraps up this edition of Ump Patch Watch, as we continue to document the apparently bottomless subject of umpire flair.

(Big thanks to Kevin McLaughlin, who deserves all the credit for this one.)

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Oh, for fuck’s sake: You could be forgiven for thinking that the Cardinals inducted someone named Ed Jones into their team hall of fame yesterday. Actually, it was Keith Hernandez, but the massive ad for a St. Louis-based investment firm made a mockery of the “honor.”

The Cards generally Get It™, but this is an embarrassment.

(Thanks to all who shared.)

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The Ticker
By Paul

Indigenous Appropriation News: Roseburg High School in Oregon will keep calling its teams the Indians (from Ted Taylor). … Shawnee Mission North High School in Kansas is changing its team name from “Indians” to “Bison” (from Matt Staus). … Algonquin Regional High School in Massachusetts will no longer call its teams the Tomahawks (from Paul Friedmann). … The school board in Susquehanna Township, Pa., has voted to retire the local high school’s “Indians” team name. … The rest of these are from Kary Klismet: Wasilla High School in Alaska has worked with the Knik Tribe to update but not eliminate the Native-themed imagery used in conjunction with its “Warriors” team name. … Here’s an interesting article about how a New Mexico school dropped its “Redskins” team name while another school in the same district has held onto “Indians.” … The San Diego State University Senate has passed a resolution calling on the school’s administration to drop the university’s “Aztecs” team name.

Baseball News: The Triple-A Buffalo Bisons are playing in Trenton, N.J., this year, and are wearing Trenton uniforms with Bisons batting helmets. … Starting on May 19, the Mets and Yankees will have separate seating sections for vaccinated and unvaccinated fans. Fans will also be able to get vaccinated at the ballpark and will be rewarded with a free ticket to a future game. … The St. Paul Saints’ latest live pig mascot is named Space Ham. … A Maryland brewery has released a very handsomely packaged Orioles-themed beer (from Andrew Cosentino). … Giants SS Brandon Crawford wore a Lou Seal headband yesterday. Lou Seal is the team’s costumed mascot (from Joe Farris). … The Rocket City Trash Pandas have been a big merch hit without ever having played a game (from John Cerone). … The Corpus Christi Hooks’ alternate identity, the Honey Butter Chicken Biscuits, made its on-field debut yesterday (thanks to all who shared). … Former Pirates and Orioles pitching coach Ray Miller died on Tuesday. Key uni-related passage from this obituary: “One thing that stood out to [Pirates pitcher/broadcaster Bob] Walk was Mr. Miller’s many superstitions. He would always sit on a wooden stool and knock on it during various parts of the game. He also drew little symbols under the bill of his cap, which he occasionally used to try and put a hex on opposing players. For whoever was starting that day, he would always rub up a pair of baseballs and stick them in that pitcher’s glove” (from Jerry Wolper). … The Frisco RoughRiders’ look last night was really, uh, something. … Angels manager Joe Maddon wore Cardinals-style striped socks last night (from Jason Reyes).

Football News: The Giants are the first NFL team to have an official cryptocurrency partner (from Alan Kreit). … New uni number assignments for the Ravens’ 2021 draft class (from Andrew Cosentino). … New centennial logo for Texas A&M’s 12th man (from @spadilly).

Hockey News: The Canucks are moving their AHL affiliate from Utica, N.Y., to Abbotsford, British Columbia. No word yet on what the relocated team will be called (from Wade Heidt). … Recently acquired Maple Leafs G David Rittich’s new pads are a homage to former Leafs G Felix Potvin (from Wade Heidt). … Also from Wade: New mask for Blue Jackets G prospect Daniil Tarasov. … Whoa, check out this amazing old shot of entertainer Tiny Tim wearing a Maple Leafs jersey on the ice! (Nice one from Alan Kreit.) … Capitals RW TJ Oshie’s father died earlier this week. He was known as “Coach Osh,” so the team has added a memorial “Coach” helmet decal for him (from Brandon Weir). … NBC Sports has a new NHL scorebug design.

Basketball News: New court design for Transylvania University in Kentucky (from Kyle Sutton). … The Suns’ Gorilla has signed what appears to be the first apparel endorsement deal for a costumed mascot (from Kary Klismet). … Here’s a weird one: Check out this old shot of the ABA’s Kentucky Colonels and Pittsburgh Condors apparently going white vs. white. I’m thinking Pittsburgh was probably wearing gold, even though it doesn’t look that way in the photo (from Kenny Kaplan). … @SanBrunoJess spotted a Celtics-themed jet at SFO.

Soccer News: New stadium name for the USL Championship’s Sacramento Republic (from @Zimfroit). … For the first time since the 2007-08 season, Real Madrid paired black socks with a white kit yesterday (thanks to all who shared). … According to this page, the upcoming final between Chelsea and Manchester City will be the first European Cup/Champions League final between two clubs that wear blue as their home shirt color. … New home kit for Forward Madison (thanks to all who shared). … Musician Ed Sheeran is the new shirt advertiser for English club Ipswich Town (from Colm Heaney and our own Jamie Rathjen). … New stadium name for Coventry City (from James Gilbert).

Olympics News: At least one of the shirts for the Great Britain women’s soccer team has been released (thanks, Jamie).

Grab Bag: New uniforms for the Central Coast (Australia) Volunteer Rescue Association, whose white jumpsuits are being replaced by green jackets (from Kenneth Traisman). … Colorado Congresswoman Lauren Boebert owns a restaurant called Shooters Grill. But she let the trademark on the restaurant’s logo lapse, so now a group opposing her re-election has acquired the rights to the logo and is auctioning off an NFT of it, with the proceeds going to anti-Boebert campaign efforts. … Officials at the G7 talks in London have been wearing G7-branded masks (from Ayden Maher). … Here’s a look at all the paint schemes for NASCAR’s upcoming Throwback Weekend at Darlington Raceway, plus an article explaining the significance of those schemes (both from Kary Klismet). … Also from Kary: Two high schools whose teams were previously called “Rebels” have chosen new team names: Walpole (Mass.) High School will be the Timberwolves, and the Turner County (Ga.) school district will be the Titans. … From our own Jamie Rathjen: “In Germany’s Handball-Bundesliga, SG Flensburg-Handewitt drew and lost first place on Wednesday because one of their players had his shirt ripped in the last minute. The referee restarted play while he was getting a new shirt, so he ran back on with his shirt partially on and in the confusion conceded the tying seven-meter throw (the equivalent of a penalty in soccer).” … A Naval Postgraduate School student has invented and patented a more durable uniform nametag for the Navy working uniform (from Timmy Donahue).

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Comments (63)

    Sure hope that the umpire rabbit hole leads to a collector that has saved dozens of initials. You never forget your friends, so there’s got to be someone out there that has the keepsake collection. Good luck in the search. Looking forward to the article.

    Check out this old shot of the ABA’s Kentucky Colonels and Pittsburgh Condors apparently going white vs. white. I’m thinking Pittsburgh was probably wearing gold, even though it doesn’t look that way in the photo.

    Those are indeed the Condors’ road uniforms, which were gold with red letters/numbers.

    To be precise, they’re a variation of the Condors’ 1970-71 road uniform – the standard jersey had stripes running down the sides and a slightly different font for the name and numbers. There’s a colour pic of them here:


    As a natural-born contrarian, I like the idea of a ball player or umpire requesting that he not be memorialized on a uniform at his passing. Think of it: if you were a really big-name beloved former player, there would be soooo much pressure on the team to memorialize you (oh, did I mention the player’s request was also requested to be kept private?)

    Maybe Gale Sayers thought of this before me.

    MLB should, of course, write the players last names however the player writes the last name. But the accent grave and accent circonflexe don’t do nearly so much as the tilde in directing the reader how to pronounce the word. I am sure linguists will pick up on the differences, but the average reader gets clues on how to pronounce those letters from the surrounding letters. The difference between N and NY, however, is really distinct. I suspect that’s why the accent marks are late arrivals compared to the tilde.

    To emphasize this excellent point, ñ signals a pronunciation that’s distinct from almost all other instances of non-tilde n for native English speakers. Whereas vowels like é, à, ö, etc specify which of several possible pronunciations to use, most of which are standard pronunciations of the letters in question for native English speakers. Of course teams should do their best to render anyone’s name as he prefers, but the tilde is simply more important in the United States than the other diacritics.

    Now if only we can get a native Turkish or Czech player to the big leagues, that will be a great day for NOB uni-watching!

    * or stress, rather than pronunciation, but English has enough Latinate origin that we tend to get the vowel stress right in Spanish words more often than not without the diacritics.

    I’m reminded of watching 2004 game highlights on the BBC World Service while I was living abroad, and the sports reporter regularly pronounced the Boston shortstop’s surname with a distinct Castilian accent: noh-MARRRR [trilled r] Garrrr-THEEE-oh-PARRR-ah.

    The funny/sad bit is when non-Latino announcers go out of their way to over-pronounce Hispanic names.

    We get it, Gringo, you’re making the effort, great. Now scale it back. You’re not on Telemundo.

    Good point. The ñ is an entirely different letter than n in the alphabet. While the accented vowels are a guide for pronunciation. Thus the ñ should always appear no matter what. Replacing ñ with n would be like replacing c with k because they are similar.

    Yeah, it’s just a shame that the Cardinals had to pick up the slack where the Cowboys were negligent.

    It’s interesting that the schools in the ticker who have these Native American mascots are called Shawnee, Algonquin, Susquehanna, and Wasilla.
    So I guess their “heart was in the right place” originally, maybe? Right idea but wrong implementation.

    I don’t always read the Indigenous ticker stuff, so maybe this is typical, and I’m just now noticing. If so, then ignore me.

    Is there anybody who thinks the naming of a place or school after a local Indian hero or tribe is not a tribute? I hope not. In fact, half of our nation’s states have indigenous names. It is not analogous to using Indians as mascots.

    I can’t speak for the other schools, but “Shawnee Mission” is an area in KC the postal service named, which includes a number of burbs. Thus the school name is for that collective locale. It’s not a matter of the school picking a Native American name to honor a tribe, etc.

    Ray Miller always preached “Change speeds, work fast, throw strikes.”

    When he was the Pirates pitching coach, I remember seeing pitchers wearing t-shirts with his mantra on them.

    Phonetically, Ronald Acúña Jr. could have multiple diacritics. I want to say he had an accent on the U and a tilde too on his jersey. But I haven’t been able to confirm that. Coming up empty on the Google images search. Maybe I have a faulty memory or I’m thinking of seeing his name on a tv score bug that way one time instead.

    He currently just has the tilde:

    If he once had the accent as well, I’m not aware of it (but I could have missed it, of course).

    Ronald Acuña has 6000 photos on Getty. I looked through the first 400. Saw him go from #89 to 82 in spring training, #24 in the Futures Game, ASG weekend, Miami, and some minor league games, then finally got to him as #13 in Atlanta. No dice. Tilde only. At that point, I gave up. The way the gift shop is “the tail that wags the dog,” I assumed that Atlanta wouldn’t change the format, lest jerseys and shirts are no longer strictly accurate

    I’d be surprised to hear he used the accent, because it isn’t used there in standard Spanish spelling. The next-to-last syllable is the DEFAULT place to put the stress in that word, so putting an accent there would be overkill (or some weird personal kind of stylization).

    Paul firing on all cylinders on uni idiosyncrasies this week.
    Presumably NOB should be however the player actually spells their name. But the inconsistencies on it make for an interesting study in uniform policies.
    RE: the Indigenous watch, when I first looked at the new logo I though it was a person with a beak, after a double take I realized it was a face palm. Wondering if anyone else saw the mythical being first.

    FWIW, the neither the Pittsburgh Pipers (ABA) nor Pittsburgh Condors ever wore gold uniforms. The Pipers colors IIRC were red, white and blue. The Condors color scheme did include gold, but as a secondary color; and they never wore a gold uniform.

    Padres reliever Mark Melançon should go with the cedilla. Or would that be çedilla?

    I’m not an expert on Spanish, but I knew a guy who said that standard Spanish pronunciation stresses the second syllable by default. So you should not see an accent on the second syllable of any name. Accents should only be used when you intend to stress a different syllable. It seems like Núñez needs one if he’s putting the emphasis on the first syllable, but Ibáñez doesn’t need one because every Spanish speaker already knows how to say his name that way.

    When ESPN started adding accent marks a few years back they put them everywhere, even on the second syllable. This trend seems to have informed NOBs as well.

    You should see international broadcasts of the UEFA Champions League. Especially with players from countries comprising the former Czechoslovakia and the former Yugoslavia.

    It’s actually that the stress is normally on the second-to-last syllable. None of the diacritics in this article would be used in written spanish as Iba~ez and Nu~ez are naturally stressed on the “a” and “u” as it is. I suspect that the accent marks are more for the American fans that have issues with the Spanish language and say things like “tort-ILL-ah” and “juh-LAHP-inno.” I remember when I worked in a call center someone called and ask to speak to Ms “TRUDGE-ill-oh”.

    Not quite right. In Spanish the stress is normally on the second-to-last syllable UNLESS the word ends in a consonant other than “n” or “s,” in which case the stress is on the final syllable. Therefore names like Ibáñez do have the accent mark in Spanish so that the speaker knows not to stress the “ñez” part.

    You also see the accent in names like María to indicate the “i” and the “a” are pronounced as two syllables.

    I am generally fairly accepting of advertising in sports but that Cardinals sign is embarrassing. I never understand why the advertiser, Edward Jones in this case, even thinks this is acceptable for their brand.

    Beyond embarrassing. It looks like a Jones memorial brought to you by a firm named Keith Hernandez.

    I must say I support the new logo chosen for the IA News section of the Ticker.

    I really wish that NASCAR had kept Fauxback Weekend where it was on the schedule and not bumped it up to Mother’s Day weekend. I do like that there seems to be more lesser-known/great looking schemes being run (ex.: Matt Jaskol’s #13, StarCom’s #00) and often-overlooked drivers (ex.: DGM Racing’s #90, Spire’s #77)are being celebrated than was the case in prior years, but it’s disappointing that some teams don’t Get It: A “Talladega Nights”-inspired paint job is just lazy, and “Back to the Future”…really?

    I’m going to disagree. Washington has dropped that name and logo. Why does IA News section need to continue to make an example of them? Why not the Braves, Chiefs, Blackhawks, or another team that’s holding on to its IA-appropriation name? Or if the idea is to use former logos to shame teams for IA appropriation in their past, why not Chief Wahoo or Chief Nokahoma?

    Washington held on to the name and logo longer than they should have. But it’s gone now, and it appears that the team is making a real effort to create a completely new identity. I’m not sure what else they can do at this point.

    Washington held on to the name and logo longer than they should have. But it’s gone now, and it appears that the team is making a real effort to create a completely new identity. I’m not sure what else they can do at this point.

    Nobody’s asking them to do anything more. The logo just speaks to the general topic of Native appropriation. The Washington connection makes it familiar and resonant, but the logo isn’t intended to shame or cajole Washington.

    Loving the umpire post from a few days ago, that’s the kind of stuff that made me fall in love with this site!

    And a fun moment in last nights game was Gary Cohen tongue in cheek pointing out that Keith was joining the Cardinals Hall of Fame tonight “alongside Edward Jones”.

    In watching the Tuesday Red Sox-Tigers game, I didn’t notice the four memorials on the Umpire’s chest protector. However, I did notice one worded EC, for Eric Cooper. This one would have been just above the ones shown and were at times hidden by the lapel on his jacket.

    I’m a big fan of players including diacriticals on their nameplates. My favorite has to be Kelechi Iheanacho of Leicester City:

    I can remember seeing Tiny Tim on TV when I was a kid. I always thought he was a strange dude. I had no idea that he was such a sports fan. Completely changed my perception of him. He passed away in 1996 and that makes me sad.

    The umpire in question today is using the memorials to cover up a non-approved manufacturer logo. I think he’s wearing an All-Star System 7 that haas a logo on the sternum there, and only Wilson (and I think New Balance) are approved logos for umpire gear. There have been examples of the past of guys with cover-ups – one was an NHL logo, another had cheap mailbox number stickers.

    This is what Paul said in 2006:

    “To my knowledge, there’s never been a ballplayer whose name included an umlaut, circumflex, cedilla, or ring accent. Can’t wait to see who gets to be the first equipment manager to contend with those.”


    I only remember that discussion because at some point it led into a discussion of the difference between an umlaut and a diaraesis (which seem to be getting more common and which is my personal favourite diacritical).

    Anyway, here’s a picture of Pierre Garçon.


    Paul had to type “Ibáñez’s” at one point above: an accent, a tilde and apostrophe, all at once! Some kind of record perhaps?

    If I’m reading this correctly, MLB mandated that teams make the diacritical marks available, but it is incumbent on the player to request them. Does that include MiLB teams? It would also be interesting if someone *cough*Paul*cough* interviewed players who have fluctuated in their use of diacritical marks to see if there were any reasons why they have gone back and forth. I wonder if some teams offer it to the player while others wait for the player to ask. Or if there is some superstition about not doing it until you make “The Show.”

    Paul I noticed that you changed the name of Indigenous Appropriation News again – and then found my comment from last week when I suggested it. Thanks!


    The Rocket City Trash Pandas have been a big merch hit without ever having played a game

    From the article:
    It piques your interest twice, and boy does it just roll off the tongue.

    Um, no. I find it to be an awkward mouthful. “Madison Trash Pandas” would have been good not as bad.

    Typical Brandiose…they love these “love it or hate it but give me your attention” identities. Sure they’re making money, but how much more could they make if they didn’t have such a divisive strategy?

    Jim, I agree with you. I remember “Hardware City Rock Cats” in New Britain, Conn. Didn’t work in the long term, as the team in that former Double-A market is a collegiate wooden-bat team.

    Actually, the Rock Cats name did work in the long term, until the team moved to the new stadium in Hartford. But the Hardware City moniker was short lived.

    The Cardinals thing is pretty bad. The sponsor’s name is way bigger than the honoree.


    I like saying the word “diacritical.” Is it just me?

    If I understand correctly, Spanish insists on the accents with lowercase letters, but not necessarily on capitals (or all caps). In fact, I believe that omitting accents in all-caps environments is MORE common than not where Spanish is spoken.

    By contrast, though, “ñ” is a full-fledged letter of the Spanish alphabet in a way that an accented vowel isn’t, and invariably keeps the tilde wherever it’s capitalized. (I encourage any native speakers out there to correct me if I’m wrong.)

    Re: the San Diego State mascot, looks like the resolution from the SDSU Senate didn’t actually call for dropping the name “Aztecs” 0 it recommended the adoption of an animal mascot with a Kumeyaay name and to stop using any human “Aztec” representatives. Wouldn’t be surprised if the final result is similar to what happened at Mississippi, which kept the nickname “Rebels” while adopting an animal mascot (bear) to replace the human mascot.

    wow… that cardinals Hall of Fame of Edward Jo.. sorry *squints*

    i hope they do a do-over.

    Ump Patch Watch is becoming the spinoff we never knew we craved! This “storyline” and the Dodgers’ thin batters boxes are just the thing we all come to Uni Watch for! Thanks, Paul!

    Re: NBC Sports Network’s “new scorebug design”.

    Apparently NBCSN has gone back to the old design.

    (I have a feeling it was because someone begged/borrowed/stole the graphics package for MLB Network. TV networks often do that; I remember once on a CBS Nascar broadcast that a Fox bug was superimposed for a second or two.)

    NBCSN is being shuttered at the end of the year…. won’t need a score bug.

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