San Francisco Giants, Stars, Presidents Celebrate Life of Willie Mays

Autor: Matthew Postins

Willie Mays touched the lives of millions of baseball fans and on Monday at Oracle Park the San Francisco Giants celebrated the Hall of Famer’s legacy with thousands in attendance.

The celebration of Mays’ life, which came three weeks after his death on June 18 at age 93, came on an off-day for the Giants, who start a series on Tuesday against Toronto.

That allowed current Giants to attend the ceremony, which was open to the public and lasted approximately two hours. NBC Sports Bay Area estimated the crowd at 4,500.

Figures from Mays’ life were present throughout the ceremony. His godson and Giants legend Barry Bonds was one of many to speak about Mays’ legacy in baseball and in life.

— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) July 9, 2024

Mays’ son, Michael, provided the final remarks of the event. Bonds referenced that while clearing up the origins of a photo that circulated on social media shortly after Mays’ passing.

“That picture you all see on the internet, with Willie in the dugout with that little boy — that ain’t me — that’s Michael, his real son.”

— KNBR (@KNBR) July 9, 2024

A former U.S. President was among the speakers. Bill Clinton, who was not announced as an attendee, gave a near 15-minute speech that roused the crowd on several occasions as he talked about Mays did for him growing up a child in Arkansas.

— SFGiants (@SFGiants) July 9, 2024

“Willie Mays gave me the chance to realize what real greatness is,” Clinton said. “It’s a curious combination of intelligence, dedication, the will to win, and a fundamental humility to believe that the effort is the prize, a gift he leaves us all with and that I hope we can all share and cherish.”

Another U.S. President, Barack Obama, provided a recorded message.

In a special message, former President Barack Obama reflects on Willie Mays’ impact on baseball and the world at large

— SF Giants on NBCS (@NBCSGiants) July 9, 2024

Among the former teammates in attendance were Felipe Alou, who later became a manager, along with Joe Amalfitano.

Commissioner Rob Manfred and Hall of Fame manager Joe Torre represented Major League Baseball.

Along with current Giants, there were former Giants players in attendance, including Buster Posey, Hunter Pence, Sergio Romo and Javier Lopez.

An array of Hall of Famers also attended, including Reggie Jackson, Dennis Eckersley, Dave Stewart and Ricky Henderson.

The families of three Giants Hall of Famers also attended — Orlando Cepeda, Willie McCovey and Gaylord Perry.  Cepeda passed away a few days after Mays.

The Giants are also wearing a No. 24 patch on their jerseys the rest of the season and all players wore No. 24 jerseys in a home game shortly after they returned home.

Mays was signed by the Giants while they were still in New York and he started his Major League career in 1952. He spent the vast majority of the career with the Giants before he was traded to the New York Mets in 1972, where he finished his career in 1973.

Mays was a 24-time All-Star, a two-time National League MVP, the NL Rookie of the Year, a 12-time Gold Glove winner, a .302 career hitter with 3,293 hits and 660 home runs. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1979 and his number, 24, is retired by both the Giants and the Mets.

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