Shieber: What is the proper pronunciation of Nap Lajoie’s surname?

From SABR member Tom Shieber at Baseball Researcher on November 7, 2018:

Let’s just cut to the chase. It’s lazh-uh-way, with the emphasis on the first syllable.

It’s not lah-zhwa, with the accent on the second syllable, though this is the correct French pronunciation. And certainly there are other people named Lajoie who pronounce it that way.

It’s not luh-joy, with a hard J and the accent on the second syllable. However there are a number of Lajoies who pronounce it that way. For example, Bill Lajoie, who played minor league baseball and later became a successful baseball executive, used that pronunciation. (By the way, some sources state that Bill was the grandson of Nap, but this is not true. Nap’s only daughter, Lillian, had no children.) And two-time NASCAR Busch Series champion Randy LaJoie (and his sons Cory and Casey) use this pronunciation, as well. In fact, you can hear Randy pronounce his name in this video.

So why do we know that the correct pronunciation is lazh-uh-way? Because the overwhelming preponderance of contemporary evidence clearly says so.

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Originally published: November 8, 2018. Last Updated: November 8, 2018.