MLB Names- Longest, Shortest?

Hope someone can answer this question that’s been driving me and my friend nuts:

What is the longest name ever to be put on the back of a major league baseball jersey? What is the shortest? After racking our brains, we’ve come up with Garciaparra and Yazstremski (both 11 letters) for the longest, however the shortest is still a topic of heated debate; we can’t decide whether Saduhara Oh ever made an appearance in the MLB.

Someone please help settle this, once and for all.


Doug Mientkiewicz has 12 letters in his last name, meaning that Nomah and Yaz weren’t even the longest names to grace a Red Sox uniform.

Sadaharu Oh never played in the major leagues. I can’t think of any players with two-letter last names that did.

I’m pretty sure that William Van Landingham is the longest name in MLB history. I mean, I didn’t check every other name to make sure, but that’s what they said about him when he was around.

Jason Isringhausen - closer for the Cards
Todd Hollandsworth - OF for the Cubs
Gene DeMontreville - Former utility infielder
Bill Knickerbocker - Former SS with the Indians

Isringhausen is 12 letters, whereas your other suggestions are all 13 letters.

In the 12-letter category, we also have Mark Grudzielanek, the Cards 2B this year. Maybe it’s just because he’s not a very large guy, but his name patch on his shirt is so long you can see the tips of the first & last letters from the front as it curls around his shoulders. I’ve never seen that effect on Isringhausen or anybody else.
So for current players only and using the standard of how big his name looks on his shirt, not just how many letters it has, I have to go with Grudzielanek for longest name. I’m not enuough of a baseball historian to answer the OPs question of longest ever, regardless of how we define “longest.”

I’m guessing Mel Ott would be in contention for the shortest last name.

As well as Preacher Roe and Billy Cox.

There was also a catcher who went by the name Ed Ott.

Lots of ties for 3, including almost 20 Lees, a Lea, and Ron Cey, besides those already mentioned.

Some forms of cricket use named shirts - plenty of work to be had when tailoring the Sri Lankan uniform.

Luckily full names aren’t required.

One thing to keep in mind regarding names on uniforms is that the practice of placing names, IIRC, didn’t start until at least the 40’s and possibly later.

Several sites indicate this is the shortest name in baseball history, with five letters total.

Sports encyclopedia editor checking in… William Van Landingham is indeed the longest surname in MLB history. That’s actually 14 characters, including the space between the “n” and the “L”. There is also a fellow named John Van Benschoten who is currently playing for the Pittsburgh Pirates. That’s also 14 characters. There have been 179 major league players with three letter surnames.

If you include punctuation marks, the longest name in NFL history (16 characters) belongs to Hawaian born Chris Fuamatu-Ma’Afala, currently with the Jacksonville Jaguars. Hyphenated surname Nate Hobgood-Chittick also has 16 characters. Twelve football players had 14 letter surnames, including Pittsburgh quaretrback Ben Roethlisberger and Cincinnati receiver T.J. Houshmandzadeh (not to mention Kansas City coach and former player Marty Schottenheimer). There have been 210 players with 3-letter surnames.

Longest player names in the NBA… Ruben Boumtje-Boumtje, Butch van Breda Kolff, and Jan van Breda Kolff. Forty-four players with three-letter last names (including my all-time favorte hoopster, the 7’-7" Dinka warrior Manute Bol).

In the NHL, the longst names (14 letters) belonged to center John Brackenborough and defenseman Phil Von Stefenelli. Plenty of three-letter names, including alltime greats Bobby Orr and Patrick Roy.

NASCAR drivers don’t wear their names on their back in the same way, but the longest name I find is 15 characters: Elliott Forbes-Robinson. Lothar Motschenbacher and J.C. Van Landingham each have 14 letters.

So far as I know, no athlete with a two-letter surname has ever appeared in one of these five major sports.

Even though he falls two letters short, somebody had to mention the L.A. Dodgers’ old second baseman of the late Sixties, Billy Grabarkewitz.

It was a bit amusing to see “Wm. v. Land’ham,” or something similar on TV graphics.

The most total letters for an MLB player (including all names) probably goes to Calvin Coolidge Julius Caesar Tuskahoma McLish

I think Sidd Finch had several middle names too.

When Jacobs Field in Cleveland opened in 1994 it was said that it had the largest free standing scoreboard in America. Despite that, it didn’t have enough space to fully spell out Indians’ reliever Paul Assenmacher’s name, which it shortened to “Assenmach”.
During the 1970s’ the Indians had a player named Joe Lis, who called himself the world’s fastest autographer. :smiley:

Not a player, but the LA Dodgers assistant general manager is Kim Ng.

Recent Patriots tackle Greg Randall-Robinson accounted for 16 as well. His jersey just said “Randall”, though.