When it comes to branding and marketing a sports franchise, it all starts with the jerseys. When people watch a team play, that’s the primary way in which they will become familiar with the teams logos and colors, which are the building blocks of advertising and paraphernalia revenue. That’s why it’s important to have a jersey that doesn’t suck. You want an aesthetically pleasing design that people will think is cool, thereby making your team seem cool. It’s not rocket science.
Of course, it goes without saying that you don’t want any errors on your team’s jerseys. Nevertheless, almost unbelievably, errors happen all the time, the most common form being a misspelled player or team name. Now, obviously, mistakes happen. Humans are imperfect, and since sports jerseys tend to be handmade, there are bound to be mistakes. So it’s not so much the fact that some 47-year-old woman in Bangladesh doesn’t know how to spell a baseball team’s name that is surprising. What’s surprising is that the errors aren’t always caught before the jerseys make their way onto the field, into marketing campaigns, or on store shelves.
So today we’re taking a look at some of the more notable (and hilarious) cases of misspelled jerseys from the world of sports. Some of them are no big deal—like when some team equipment manager misspells a rookie’s name. Because hey, he’s a rookie. But others are less forgivable—like when the player is the best to ever play a sport, or the team’s name is missing a letter. Those are the ones that really ought to be caught, and which make us laugh all the more. So check ’em out.
We start off with the most recent case. When Manchester United kicked off their 2012-13 season against Everton on August 20, Brazilian midfielder Anderson (full name: Anderson Luís de Abreu Oliveira) subbed in while wearing a jersey that read Andesron. Hopefully this isn't an indicator of how the season will go for Man U.
Manchester United's Anderson wasn't the first guy with that name to be subjected to a mishap. While competing in the 2004 Slam Dunk Contest, the Birdman wore a Denver Nuggets jersey that replaced the Scandanavian "e" for an "o."
29. Chris Birdman Andersen
Justin Duchscherer isn't exactly a major league pitching star. The 34-year-old has bounced around the league and up and down from the majors to the minors. So it's not surprising that people didn't give him much thought when he showed up at Orioles spring training in 2011. Still, you'd think that, with a difficult name like this, the people in charge of sewing the name plates would triple check the spelling, just to be safe.
28. Justin Duchscherer
Here's another guy who isn't exactly a star. Jorgensen (there's that pesky Scandinavian "e" again) had a cup of coffee with the Marlins in 2005 before getting called up again in 2007, this time by the Reds. That's when he discovered just how little people knew about him—when they gave him a jersey spelling his name "Joregenson."
Of course, everybody knew his name a few days after he wore the misspelled jersey: he got busted for PEDs and suspended for 50 games.
27. Ryan Jorgensen
Z's and S's are similar, I will admit, but they are not interchangeable. However, the first time Alfonzo wore this misspelled jersey he smacked a two-run dinger that helped win the game. Thus, baseball players being a superstitious bunch, he wore the same jersey again the next day.
26. Eliezer Alfonzo
Unless you're a francophone, Jeff Francoeur is a hard name to spell. Still, you can look it up, so there's no excuse to spell it "Francouer," as it was on this day in 2007.
25. Jeff Francoeur
Danny Jennings transferred from West Virginia to Long Beach State last year. I wonder if it was because they didn't know how to spell his name?
By the way, the WV Mountaineers are one of a whopping seven teams that will appear on this list more than once.
24. Danny Jennings
Earlier this season, Twins pitcher Jeff Manship (which is a pretty funny name to begin with) took the mound with the name on the back of his jersey reading "MANSIHP." That led me to wonder which name would be preferable: MAN SHIP, or MAN SIP? (I think I'd go with SHIP, because SIP sounds kind of dirty.)
23. Jeff Manship
It could have been worse for the Nuggets' Wilson Chandler. They could have called him "Chanandler Bong."
22. Wilson Chandler
I actually like the sound of "Hamiltion," but that's just not the guy's name. On an unrelated note, how awesome is it that a guy named Richard gets called "Rip" instead of "Dick"?
21. Rip Hamilton
Someone on the Washington Redskins equipment staff tried to give running back Ladell Betts some undeserved NFL pedigree back in 2009 when they put Bettis on the back of his jersey. But hey, who wouldn't want to be associated with Jerome "The Bus" Bettis?
20. Ladell Betts
Stephen Strasburg's #37 is the top-selling jersey in the history of the Washington Nationals. So you wouldn't expect this error—Strasbrug?—to make it to the shelved of the official team store. And yet here it is.
In his 7 years with the L.A. Clipper, poor Chris Kaman had his named misspelled not once but twice. The first time, in 2003, he actually wore a jersey with an extra M. The second time, the league tried to sell a jersey with his named misspelled a different way in their online store.
18. Chris Kaman
Seriously? The New Orleans Hornets misspelled Smith? That's just embarrassing.
17. Jason Smith
There's an error even more embarrassing than misspelling Smith, and that's sewing the R in Robbins on backwards. What, was the person doing the sewing for the New York Giants Russian or something?
Actually, they probably were. That would definitely explain it. (In the Cyrillic alphabet, the R is backwards. FYI.)
16. Fred Robbins
Sure, misspell Williams. It's not like this guy is any good, so nobody will notice.
Wait, what? Kevin Williams is a 6x Pro Bowl and a 5x All Pro defensive tackle? Oops.
15. Kevin Williams
Scott's little brother Rob didn't just play one game with his name spelled incorrectly. He played three. So obviously, he's not a details guy. (In case you didn't catch it, the name should be spelled I-E, not E-I.)
14. Rob Niedermayer
Ah yes, a nice little photo op for Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari and a few of his "student" athletes. Oh, wait, look at that—John Wall's jersey says Kentucuky. I knew Calipari's players weren't known for their academic prowess, but they should at least be able to spell their own school's name.
This is perhaps my personal favorite misspelling. Why? Because it's not like this is an Alex Smith jersey they're advertising. It's Aaron Freaking Rodgers, who is arguably the best quarterback in the league (definitely in the top 3) and could still go down (if he gets a few more rings) as one of the greatest of all time. So you would think the NFL store would get his name right.
12. Aaron who?
This one is from WVU's 2007 NIT Championship. It proves that one little "I" makes a big difference. (Virgina sounds like...well, you know.)
11. West Virgina
The White Sox were the very first major sports team to put names on the back of their jerseys—a huge innovation for people watching on TV. However, they didn't hire the sharpest tool in the shed to do their sewing. Not only did Ted Kluszewsky's name have an X in it; it also had a backwards Z.
10. No X in Kluszewsky
Look closely. Do you see it?
Keep looking. I've got all the time in the world.
Yep, there you go. It's Redskins, not Redskin.
9. Plural vs. Singular
Ah yes, the MinneSTOA Twins. They are one of my favorite baseball squadrons.
8. Land of 10,000 Lakes
Look, I know the Great One has a moderately challenging name to spell—Gretzky. But he is Wayne f-ing Gretzky! And this one happened in 1997. By then, he was already considered the greatest hockey player to ever live. So this was inexcusable.
7. The Great One
The shorter the name, the greater the spelling fail. So untill we see something like UCS on a Trojans football jersey, this is as bad as it gets in college sports.
San Francisco can be a hard name to spell, I guess, with all those sss sounds in there. But doesn't San Francicso just look wrong? In any case, that's what made it onto the front of Eugenio Velez's jersey in 2010.
5. The Other City by the Bay
Adam Riggs only played parts of 4 seasons in Major League Baseball. He was actually much more successful in Japan. However, he made an indelible mark in MLB when he wore this jersey for the Angels back in 2003.
4. California Angees of the Greater Los Angeles Metropolitan Area
Here's Aaron Harrang wearing a Reds jersey that's missing the first I in 2005. It's funny how a name suddenly looks eastern European when you remove a vowel.
In 1994, the Toronto Blue Jays were the defending two-time World Series Champions. Moreover, just a few months before, Joe Carter became one of the few men to end a World Series with a home run. But here he is the following July, wearing a jersey that read TOROTNO on the front.
2. World Champion Torotno Blue Jays
The Washington Nationals take the top spot on this list because they had not one but two misspelled jerseys make an appearance in the same game back in 2009. And they weren't worn by some journeyman relief pitcher and the backup catcher, but on their two biggest stars (at the time)—Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn. That's an epic team FAIL.