Monday, October 31, 2011

Doug Gwosdz: If you see multiple vowels, your eyes are broken

For much of the country, Polish last names present linguistic challenges unparalleled in the languages of Europe. However, having grown up near Chicago, I'm familiar with many of the rules of Polish pronunciation and can usually work a new name out in a few seconds. In fact, I pride myself on correctly pronouncing the name of St. Louis Cardinals' reliever Mark Rzepczynski correctly when I first saw it.

But I am not perfect. When I saw Doug Gwosdz1's name crop up while doing some incredibly detailed research for GNIB, I pronounced it "Gwosh." Which is wrong.

Gwosdz's last name has been discussed at length here, but the short version is that it's pronounced "Goosh" and he quickly drew the nickname "Eyechart" from former major league backstop Chris Cannizzaro.

Gwosdz, a catcher, played just 69 games for the San Diego Padres from 1981 to 1984. His offensive numbers are unimpressive, though he was a good defender. In all honesty, his odd name is probably his most notable achievement in the long annals of baseball history. But at least he doesn't dwell in total baseball anonymity.

Read an incredibly short interview with Gwosdz here. Read this while if you're surfing the 'net, also.Link

1 I can say with relative certainty that the Calgary Cannons got a huge lot of Chicago Cubs hats that were surplus souvenirs from the Cubs' dark years. This would be explainable if the Cannons were affiliated with the Cubs, but they were instead the AAA team of the Seattle Mariners.

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