The Tigers called up reliever Alberto (Al) Alburquerque this week. Now, I’m not the only blogger with a fondness for great names, but what struck me about this fellow beyond the name’s alliteration was the matched sequence of the first three letters in the first and last names. Lets hear it for tautograms!
You know what happened next at VORG headquarters . . . I had to figure out if Al was (most likely, at best) tied for the record of longest sequence of matched letters in their first and last names (starting with the first letter in each).
But first, time out for “Al Alburquerque” fun facts:
- Alberto Alburquerque is not only the first player in major league history to have two Qs in his last name, but he’s the first to have two Qs anywhere in his name.
- Yes, his last name is very similar to the city in New Mexico. The city’s spelling is supposedly a variation of the original spelling.
- Despite (and because of) the two Qs in his name, Al won’t make our upcoming list of highest-Scrabble scoring players names. And sadly, the Spanish edition of Scrabble also has only one Q.
Now, back to the tautology/alliteration detective work. We’re going to go by the player’s given birth names, so guys like Holly Hollingshead (born John Samuel Hollingshead) and Marty Martinez (born Orlando Martinez) won’t make the cut.
Many players have four matching letters in their first and last names. We have a few variations of “John Johnson”. There is John Henry Johnson, a pitcher for four different AL teams from 1978-87. Johnny Johnson pitched in 1944-45. There are also two other “John Johnson”s and one John Johnston who played at some point prior to World War I. Similarly, we have a John Johnstone (no relation to pinch-hitter extraordinaire Jay Johnstone).
Also in the “four letter” group we have Eric Erickson, one of only four players in major league history to have been born in Sweden. Also coming in at four is Monty Montgomery, a graduate of that college baseball hotbed Pfeiffer University in Misenheimer, NC. (Let’s hear it for the scout who found him there!). Finally, we do have an active major leaguer in the four letter group. The recently-traded and currently injured and rehabbing Frank Francisco.
We ALMOST had one player with the same first five letters in their first and last name. That would have been Clement (Clem) Clemens. A bummer that he was actually born Clement Ulatowski.
So, it appears Alberto Alburquerque isn’t quite “tautogrammic” enough to make the cut here at VORG. But I’ll still enjoy saying his alliterative name.