Willie Mays

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Willie Mays : biography

May 6, 1931 –

In addition to appearances in baseball documentaries and on talk shows, Mays has appeared in several sitcoms over the years, always as himself. He appeared as the mystery guest during different incarnations of the long running game show What’s My Line?. He was in three episodes of ABC’s The Donna Reed Show: "Play Ball" and "My Son the Catcher" (both 1964) and "Calling Willie Mays" (1966). Also in 1966, he appeared in the "Twitch or Treat" episode of Bewitched, in which Darrin Stephens asks if Mays is a warlock, and Samantha Stephens replies, "The way he hits? What else?" In 1989, he appeared in My Two Dads, in the episode "You Love Me, Right?", and in the episode "The Field" of Mr. Belvedere. Additionally, he had performed "Say Hey: The Willie Mays Song" on episode 4.46 of The Colgate Comedy Hour in 1954.

Special honors and tributes

When Mays’ godson Barry Bonds tied him for third on the all-time home run list, Mays greeted and presented him with a diamond-studded Olympic torch (given to Mays when he carried the torch during its tour through the United States). In 1992, when Bonds signed a free agent contract with the Giants, Mays personally offered Bonds his retired #24 (the number Bonds wore in Pittsburgh) but Bonds declined, electing to wear #25 instead, honoring his father Bobby Bonds who wore that number with the Giants.

Willie Mays Day was proclaimed by former mayor Willie Brown and reaffirmed by mayor Gavin Newsom to be every May 24 in San Francisco, paying tribute not only to his birth in the month (May 6), but also to his name (Mays) and jersey number (24). The date is also the anniversary of his call-up to the major leagues.Willie Mays: The Life, The Legend, by James Hirsch

On May 24, 2004, during the 50-year anniversary of The Catch, Mays received an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters degree from Yale University.

On December 6, 2005, he received the Bobby Bragan Youth Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award for his accomplishments on and off the field.

On July 30, 2006, he was the Tee Ball Commissioner at 2006 White House Tee Ball Initiative

On June 10, 2007, Mays received an honorary doctorate from Dartmouth College.

At the 2007 All-Star Game in San Francisco, Mays received a special tribute for his legendary contributions to the game and threw out the ceremonial first pitch.

On December 5, 2007, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver inducted Mays into the California Hall of Fame, located at The California Museum for History, Women and the Arts.

On June 4, 2008, Community Board 10 in Harlem voted unanimously to name an eight-block service road that connects to the Harlem River Drive from 155th Street to 163rd Street running adjacent to his beloved Polo Grounds—Willie Mays Drive.

On May 23, 2009, Mays gave the commencement address at San Francisco State University and received an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.

On July 14, 2009, he accompanied U.S. President Barack Obama to St. Louis aboard Air Force One for the Major League All-Star Game.

On March 19, 2010, he was inducted into the African-American Ethnic Sports Hall of Famehttp://www.budwinter.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2010/02/OaklandInductionCeremony_HOFver2.pdf

On May 6, 2010, on the occasion of his 79th birthday, Mays appeared on the floor of the California State Senate where they proclaimed it Willie Mays Day in the state.

On May 15, 2010, Mays was awarded the Major League Baseball Beacon of Life Award at the Civil Rights game at Great American Ballpark.

Mays was mentioned or referenced in many popular songs. The Treniers recorded the song "Say Hey (The Willie Mays Song)" in 1955. The band Widespread Panic makes reference to Mays in the song "One Arm Steve" from their album ‘Til the Medicine Takes. Terry Cashman’s song Talkin’ Baseball has the refrain "Willie, Mickey and the Duke", which subsequently became the title of an award given by the New York Baseball Writers Association. John Fogerty mentioned Mays, Ty Cobb and Joe DiMaggio in his song Centerfield. His name was also used on the album The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan in the song "I Shall Be Free", and in Gil Scott-Heron’s song The Revolution Will Not Be Televised.