Sometimes you’ll be having a conversation with friends about ballplayers, and you’ll mistakenly mention someone with a very similar name to the one you are actually describing.
For example, perhaps you meant to talk about the white, 46-year-old former reliever for the 1980s Orioles and a bunch of other teams, Gregg Olson. But you instead brought up the name of a 27-year-old black, toolsy outfielder who has had cups of coffee with a bunch of teams, Greg Golson. Its an easy mistake to make . . . just move the last “g” of “Gregg” to the front of “Olson” and voila . . . an entirely different player.
Well here at the VORG, we want to help you keep your wits about you when you talk about similarly-named players. So, we’re going to describe the attributes of a specific group of them now. Please pay attention.
On the left you have a picture of Korean-born right-handed pitcher Jae Seo (pronounced jay-so). He is/was 6’1″ and 215 pounds and pitched for the Mets and other teams from 2002 to 2007. He was born in 1977 and now pitches for the Kia Tigers back in South Korea. He never played catcher, unlike . . .
. . . this man on the left. A white, 6’2″ 205-pounder born in 1983 in Chula Vista. This is John Jaso. Yes, this man’s last name is pronounced just like the full name of that Jae Seo fellow we just introduced you to. Don’t be scared.
Jaso was drafted by Tampa Bay (with Devil) Rays in 2003, debuted for Tampa Bay (sans Devil) in 2008, got dealt to Seattle in 2011 and was just dealt to Oakland last month. He *is*, through these trades, moving ever closer to South Korea and a meetup with Jae Seo, but it is highly unlikely he’ll cross the Pacific anytime soon. Jaso has never played the outfield, unlike . . .
. . . this man. He is a 27-year-old, 5’11, 200-pound lefty-throwing outfielder of Venezuelan descent from Miami named Jon Jay. So, he has the first two syllables of that catcher we were just discussing, and his last name sounds the same as the first name of the pitcher we discussed before we discussed the catcher, but he’s neither of those two. Got that?
His name, as you most likely are aware, is a homophone** of . . .
. . . this man. John Jay (December 12, 1745 – May 17, 1829) was an American statesman, Patriot, diplomat, a Founding Father of the United States, signer of the Treaty of Paris, and the first Chief Justice of the United States. Since the National Association of Base Ball Players didn’t come into existence until 1857, it is highly unlikely that THIS John Jay played organized baseball. These fellows, however, do play baseball at the college named for John Jay the statesman (not Jon Jay the outfielder). Neither John Jay nor Jon Jay should be confused with . . .
. . . this man. This was a 6’1″, 175-pound lefty-swinging, righty-throwing outfielder and pinch-hitter for eight different teams over 20 years from 1966-1985. He was born in 1945 in Connecticut and his name was (and still is) Jay Johnstone. However . . . his given name is John, so he’s actually John William Johnstone. Which, it turns out, is also the exact first, middle and last name of . . .
. . . this man. THIS “John William Johnstone” actually went by “John”, unlike that “John William Johnstone” who went by “Jay”. This John Johnstone was a 6’3″, 195-pound righty pitcher out of Liverpool, NY. He toiled, unremarkably, for eight seasons from 1993-2000.
This concludes today’s lesson on how to distinguish similarly-named players from very far away.