During a recent broadcast of a Pirates game, a visiting announcer admitted that he would have difficulty correctly pronouncing the name of one of the Pittsburgh players. When infielder Gift Ngoepe came to the plate the announcer, according to his partner in the booth, had nailed the pronunciation.
The two then went on to discuss numerous players they had difficulty pronouncing, and the color analyst claimed that he was okay unless the name contained more than three syllables. I immediately disagreed with this assumption, for as a baseball broadcaster he quite frequently had to utter words with four syllables.
Granted, not many players have names comprising more than three syllables, but there is a one in ten chance that the city they call home does. Ten of the thirty teams in Major League Baseball play in towns that have four or more syllables.
Throughout the history of all clubs, not just those syllabically-lengthened ones in places like Colorado and Minnesota and Philadelphia, have enjoyed the occasional presence of guys with last names nearly as long. Fans have become familiar with the surnames Garciaparra or Boccabella or Nahorodney or Encarnacion, to mention only a handful.
Much rarer are the first names that require four syllables, as only a smidgen of those have appeared on Major League rosters. Here is a line up of players whose first names have more than three syllables.
First Base, Minunori Kawasaki
He spent recent seasons in Toronto, where as a utility player he was a key to the Blue Jays reaching the American League Championship in both 2015 and 2016.
Second Base, Arismandy Alcantara
Currently he is playing with the Reds in Cincinnati, one of those ten cities that has a quartet of syllables.
Shortstop, Eugenio Saurez
Now one of the best third basemen in the National League, Suarez came up as a shortstop and could very well return there with Zack Cozart facing free agency.
Third Base, Aurelio Rodriguez
Because of his well-known rivals in the late Sixties and early Seventies, All-Stars Brooks Robinson and Harmon Killebrew, this consistent defender at the hot corner often got overlooked.
Left Field, Geronimo Berroa
He blossomed as part of the power hitting Athletics of the mid Nineties, joining a line up that already had Ruben Sierra and Mark McGuire.
Center Field, Alejandro De Aza
After early success at the top of the White Sox batting order, De Aza has made a good adjustment to his role as a fourth outfielder for several different clubs.
Right Field, Norihiro Nakamuro
He spent a short MLB career with the Dodgers of the mid -2000s, one of the few men whose first and last names fit the topic of this article.
Catcher, Geovanni Soto
Chicago was the setting of his first seasons in the Big Leagues, when he took over behind the plate for the Cubs.
Pitcher, Octavio Dotel
The right hander’s name may be long, but the resume listing the teams he has played for is more than twice as long.
Pitcher, Hipolito Pichardo
A right hander who spent ten years in MLB, his biggest success came mostly with the Royals in the late nineties.
Pitcher, Antonio Bastardo
From 2009-2017 he has been a reliable hurler, mostly with the Phillies, who play in a city with even more syllables than his first name.