Sunday, 18 September 2011

What's in a Name?

I was looking for ideas for my blog online and I came across the name of an old hockey player born on this day in 1904 named Bun Cook, but his Christian name was Frederick, and I wondered how he got his name.  I looked him up on Wikipedia and read that his wife claimed that Fred's brother Bill nicknamed him Bun because of his big nose.  However, another theory states that Fred had rapid speed like a Bunny which was later shortened to Bun.  Interestingly enough, he played on the New York Rangers with his fellow forwards, Bill Cook and Frank Boucher, the threesome being called "The Bread Line" (a reference to "Bun").

Similarly, how did Babe Ruth, officially George Herman Ruth, get his nickname?  Apparently in 1914 he was living in an orphanage when he met Joe Dunn of the Baltimore Orioles.  Dunn saw Ruth pitch and signed him immediately, becoming his legal guardian as well.  When Joe introduced George to the players on his team, they called him one of Joe's "new babes" and the name stuck.  Later, Americans named a chocolate bar after the baseball great.

My nephew Boden ("Bo) Tufts also got his name in a roundabout way.  When my sister-in-law Julie was expecting three years ago, Mom would ask my brother Bill if the couple had any baby names picked out.  Just to be silly, Bill would say that if they had a boy, they would name him Sonny after the movie star Sonny Tufts from the 1950's (a distant relation) whom my Dad had talked about for years.  Anyway, Mom pointed out that Sonny was a nickname and his Christian name was Bowden.  Right away Bill and Julie liked the name, although they dropped the "w".  In the meantime, my Dad came home and reminded my Mom that Sonny's real name was Bowen, not Bowden.  However, the mispronunciation stuck and my nephew was baptized Boden.

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