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Changing Your Name Is
Almost Like Changing Your Life

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When the St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series in 1982, one of the stars was a rookie outfielder, Willie Dean McGee.

Willie liked to be called Willie. He didn't like to be called "E.T."

E. T., which stands for (extra-terrestrial), was the name of a lovable but odd-looking being from outer space featured in one of the most popular moves of the year. Like E. T., Willie McGee has dark skin and a pinched-looking face. Lanky, easy-going Willie, one of the speediest players in baseball despite a wobbling style of covering the outfield, was nicknamed E. T. by opposing players who imagined a resemblance in both appearance and movement. Then announcer Howard Cosell also began calling him E. T.

"I appreciate people calling me by my name," Willie said in his polite way in the locker room. "Nobody should be able to change your name. It's almost like changing your life."

The nickname didn't hurt Willie's World Series play, however. He made at least three sensational catches, and he was only the third rookie ever to hit two home runs in one Series game.

Hook, J. N. The Book of Names, A Celebration of Mainly American Names: People, Places, and Things. Franklin Watts, 1983.



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