Friday, May 6, 2011

Happy 80th birthday, Willie Mays!

August 16, 1965, Candlestick Park, bottom of the fourth. Against Mets righthander Tom Parsons, Willie hits a line drive to right center that just clears the fence. It's one of 17 homers he hit that month, 52 for that MVP season, and 660 for his matchless career, and we were there, nine years old. What's YOUR best Willie Mays memory?

Another time... same place...  Candlestick, 1970, against the Cincinnati Reds. Bobby Tolan hit what should have been a home run to right center, and 39-year-old Willie, running full speed, leaped OVER Bobby Bonds, caught the ball as it was going over the fence, then tumbled to the ground and was completely still for 5 minutes before getting up and calmly jogging away. We saw it live on TV and couldn't believe what we'd seen. If anyone has a video of this unbelievable catch, please upload it to YouTube! We can't find it anywhere, and every baseball fan should see it.

Says Buster Posey, "Happy 80th birthday to Willie Mays, one of the greatest baseball players of all time and a true ambassador of game. Thank you for helping me understand the honor and privilege it is to play for the Giants."

Class act, that Buster.  Happy birthday, Willie, the Greatest of 'Em All!

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