Some less-enlightened baseball fans, moving on from PED digs at the St. Louis Cardinals and their new shortstop Jhonny Peralta, have taken potshots at the unfamiliar spelling of his first name.
When the now-31-year-old first came up with Cleveland in 2003, the oft-repeated story was that the spelling of his name was the result a clerical error at the hospital when he was born. Another variation of the origin charges an error to his parents.
In a 2007 interview with the Santo Domingo Times, Peralta apparently had some fun with the “controversy”. He claimed his way of spelling “Johnny” is the only correct one.
I can relate, having spent my years asserting those unfortunate souls who spell their name “Bryan” have it all wrong.
Moving on to Detroit in trade, Peralta told Michigan newspapers mlive.com the following in 2010.
“It’s weird, I know,” Peralta said. “My father spelled it that way in the Dominican [Republic]. A lot of people actually spell the name that way in the Dominican.”
On the latter point at least, Peralta is absolutely correct. The reality is that “Jhonny” is not all that unusual in Spanish-speaking countries, let alone in the sport.
A simple name search at Baseball-Reference.com indicates 19 professional baseball players have gone by “Jhonny.” In fact, another one of them is currently in the Cardinals system. Jhonny Polanco, a Nicaraguan, pitched for State College this past summer.
Without having undertaken exhaustive research into the matter, I am still pretty sure all 19 have different parents and were born in different hospitals.
Pronunciation also seems no big deal to the player, who added the following:
“When I first came up to the Indians, fans would shout, ‘Hey, JAY-honny!’ It’s not a problem. It’s OK however people say it.”
Anyway, I am hoping that Peralta makes his first Cardinals appearance at January’s Winter Warm-Up in St. Louis. If so, I intend to see what his 2014 explanation will be.
I am guessing it will be entertaining.