Monday, February 22, 2010

Why Willie Mays matters



Photo by Slick Vic

“When I went back outside, I saw that there were now twenty people waiting to have their photos taken next to the Mays statue. I realized then that it was my job to tell those people what was inside that bronze sculpture. It was worth the wait.” -- James S. Hirsch, author of "Willie Mays: The Life, The Legend"

Younger readers of this blog may wonder why I go on (and on) about The Greatest Giant of them all. Nick Cannata-Bowman at Croix De Candlestick has a nice post that explains why there's been such a positive response to "Willie Mays: The Life, The Legend." It's clearly a terrific read, partly for explaining why No. 24 had such an impact, more than three decades after he hung them up -- My most prominent memory of him is at the 2007 All-Star Game. Having been lucky enough to be in attendance, I was able to watch firsthand as the Giants held a moving tribute to Willie accompanied by a scoreboard-sized picture of his famous catch in the 1954 World Series against Vic Wertz of the Cleveland Indians. Even having not watched Mays in his playing days, it was hard not to feel an enduring sense of reverence. What’s amazing about Mays is that even to those who didn’t see him play, he still possesses a cultural resonance that seems to transcend the generation gap.

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