Say Hey, Willie Mays! (2022) Movie Script

High fly to the back left field.
This is gonna go.
A way back and gone
over the left field wall.
A line drive to center.
That was well hit
but Willie Mays picks up 2 home runs
here in the sixth inning.
Willie Mays is arguably
on of the greatest
if not the greatest player in
the history of Major League Baseball.
Mays changed
the way the game was played.
When Willie stepped on the field
it was like going to see
Michael Jordan... Muhammad.
He's an American icon,
a beloved figure.
He was a gigantic star.
It's just hard to quantify.
But I think
it's critical to understand
who and what Willie Mays is.
Willie Mays came out of
segregated baseball in America.
The expectation that he would shut up
don't raise any issues, especially
if they have to do with race
just go out and play ball.
Willie fulfilled that phenomenally
to such an extent that
he actually drew criticism.
You gotta stand up and do more.
You gotta stand up and speak out.
Willie didn't want any part of that.
The words were hurtful to Willie.
He's a really complicated figure,
kind of a fascinating figure.
It doesn't diminish his status
as the greatest baseball player ever.
For a black man to have done what
he did at the time that he did it
maybe that's enough.
Are you Willie Mays, the greatest
baseball player of all time?
Willie's always gonna be
the Godfather.
You know, my dad passed away
2003, I had Willie.
I'd never played a game
without either one of them
in my entire lifetime.
We were in spring training
and I was hitting towering home runs
like towering balls
that were going like this.
And Willie said,
"You're gonna be in a slump, boy."
And I said, "Why?"
He said, "The ball
should never do this.
That ball needs to go boom!
You need, that ball needs
to come off your bat fast."
M-a-y-s spells bye bye baby.
The slugger opened the '61 season
belting four homers in one game.
Only nine ballplayers have
ever accomplished the feat.
From there, Mays becomes the
highest paid ballplayer in history.
35-year-old Mays hit 52 homers
and earned
the Most Valuable Player Award.
His 535th career home run
tops Jimmy Fox
and gives Mays sole possession
of 2nd place in total home runs hit.
Only Babe Ruth has blasted
more four-baggers than Willie.
Drive to deep left centerfield.
It's gone, it's a home run!
Number 599 of Mays' career.
Fades to left.
That one is way back! Way back.
Willie Mays joined
the great Babe Ruth
as the only players
to hit 600 home runs.
0 and 2, Wegener delivers.
Mays hits it into left...
Willie Mays has done it again.
He has brought the baseball world
to a standstill.
He is the most spectacular
baseball player that ever played.
Willie excelled.
He ran bases.
People talk about how fast
he could get from first to third
stealing home.
Catching the ball like
you know, we're gonna put a little
something on it, like right here.
But when you think about all that
he dominated
the entirety of the game.
Many of Mays' former teammates
were there
as they honored Willie Mays
as the greatest Giant ever.
I mean, he threw out over
7,000 runners playing centerfield.
That's the deepest part
of the stadium.
660 home runs, 12 Golden Gloves
22 seasons, 24 All Star Games
but unless you know
and follow the game
you don't really get
a full appreciation
of how great he was.
Why do you love baseball?
First of all
baseball was a game
that you could play
and you could play it
for a long time.
I picked baseball because
I could play it every day.
It... it was fun.
Oh, I loved baseball
when I was about four or five.
When I was a young man coming up
my father and I used to talk
about baseball all the time.
They called him Cat
because he could run
he could throw and he could field.
And he could hit, man.
He was a lead-off hitter.
He and I would go
to the baseball field
and just the two of us
and he would show me
how to do every position
catching, second base, shortstop
because they look for you
to be the leader.
And we lived in a town
called Fairfield, Alabama.
The thing about the state of Alabama
in the 1940s
it is Jim Crow America.
I mean it's almost un-describable.
The things that
we think of now as racist
were routine examples
of everyday life.
White person walking down the street
you step off to the side
and let them pass.
Don't look them directly in the eye.
Yes ma'am, no sir, the whole bit.
Hold your head down.
Think of every possible injustice
you've ever heard about
related to segregation and racism
it was there and there in abundance.
My mother and dad
wasn't never together now.
They did their own thing.
My mother got married
to a guy named Frank.
So I didn't stay
with my mother that long.
I stayed with my two aunts
Ernestine and Sarah.
They took care of me.
Then my dad
he used to work in the steel mill.
And he would always come home early,
like two o'clock in the afternoon
and he would show me
how to do a lot of things
'cuz he was a good baseball player.
Made sure that
I didn't get in no trouble.
I haven't been in no trouble
since I was, I guess,
two or three years old.
Babe Ruth used to say,
"Start a boy young.
Teach him to play ball
when he's four years old."
In the spring of any year
a boy with a bat and ball is secretly
to his father a Major Leaguer
so it was with Willie and his Dad.
Well, when actually when I start...
first started playing ball
with my father
at about five or six years old
he was playing semi-pro ball
around Birmingham. And
he was working what you call
a steel mill team around Birmingham
and I used to play with the big
fellas, like 19 and 20 years old
when I was about 12.
It's a sport that appeals to all ages
the sound of a ball meeting a bat
is a familiar ring to
millions of people around the world.
The Negro League was
a black baseball league.
If a black man wanted
to play baseball
he played in the Negro Leagues
or he didn't play.
Baseball did not want black players
to participate in the league
and so concurrently
there was a league
of black teams
from around the country
with the best black players,
black owners.
Everything about it was black.
It was reality in segregated America.
The game where the negro athlete
of today and yesteryear
has left a bright mark.
When I got to be in high school
I was already playing
professional ball
but I couldn't say that.
They had given me money
under the table
and I went home
and I gave it to my aunts.
Sometime I make a thousand,
sometime I make two thousand
but I had to come home and they...
and my aunts would give me
a couple dollars back
to put in my pocket,
so I could go to the movie
take the glove out
of wherever it may be.
I remember him as Buck Dust.
That was his nickname.
My dad, he was
with the Birmingham Black Barons
in the old Negro League.
He was first baseman.
He was the second baseman
and he was the manager.
When Dad went to talk to Mays' father
about Mays playing
Mays' father knew that my dad
would take good care of Buck Dust
in his professional life.
You know, try to keep him
straight and everything.
Oh, Dad was a straight shooter.
Piper Davis is like the Godfather
of black baseball in Birmingham.
He helped usher Willie Mays
onto the team
was a mentor for Willie
and a mentor for
a lot of the black Birmingham kids
that wanted to play baseball.
And they played here
at this baseball park.
Rickwood Field,
America's oldest baseball park.
And the last park to play home
to a Negro League team.
Here's your starting lineup.
Leading off and playing centerfield,
Cool Papa Bell.
The greatest baseball players
of that time
played in the Negro League.
And many of those players
would have been great
in Major League Baseball
had they been given the opportunity
but of course, not until
Jackie Robinson does that happen.
If you didn't leave church early
you didn't get a seat at Rickwood
when the Black Barons played.
When I played with
the Birmingham Barons
the guy that really helped me,
actually, it was three guys:
Piper Davis was the manager
Artie Wilson was the shortstop
and Bill Greason was the pitcher.
I had pretty good stuff.
Well, I had my curve ball.
I did about 92 on the fastball.
If I got two strikes on you
I said bye
'cuz my downer was like this.
We were young on the club.
We were rookies
and I being
a little older than Willie
I tried to help him all I could
because I was a little more
knowledgeable of things than he was.
We were friends and
we played together in several places.
Willie was 17 years old.
He was literally a boy among men
in many ways
except when it came
to the ball field.
The other guys are husbands, fathers,
steelworkers, more mature men.
And yet Willie is a kid.
And he had a youthful exuberance.
They say he brought
a lot of excitement to the team.
And probably is the reason
they won their championship in 1948.
At the end of the day,
Piper came to me
and he says,
"What did you learn today?"
And I had to tell him
what I learned, how I learned.
And, "Can you do it tomorrow?"
"Yeah, man, I can do it tomorrow."
When he played,
he was a centerfielder
so he would tell our left fielder
and right fielder
don't come nowhere in here.
You go for where you are to the line
and everything else
I'll take care of. He was tremendous.
He was a great young ball player.
So while Willie Mays as a 17-year-old
hit one home run
for the Birmingham Black Barons
he was by the end of the season
the starting centerfielder
for this Black Barons team
that went all the way
to the Negro League World Series
and actually got a game winning hit
in one of those games.
Do you remember when Jackie Robinson
entered the major leagues?
When I saw Jackie
he could do everything.
I was very impressed
by what he could do.
He did everything
and he could hit, man.
So the first time
Willie came across Jackie
was at Rickwood Field
when Willie was a kid
and Jackie brought a group of
barnstormers through Birmingham.
And that's when
Jackie saw Willie for the first time.
And Jackie actually recommended
Willie Mays to the Brooklyn Dodgers.
The Brooklyn Dodgers sent out
a scout named Wid Matthews
and Wid Matthews saw
Willie Mays play.
He returned to Brooklyn and said
the kid can't hit a curve ball.
So otherwise imagine that,
Willie Mays, a Dodger.
April 15, 1947
Jackie Robinson breaks
into the big leagues.
Branch Rickey, the owner of
the Brooklyn Dodgers, signed him.
But all credit is
really due Robinson for
whatever gamble there was in it to
whatever sort of experiment it was.
He handled it beautifully
with a fine intelligence
to enable him to understand
that he was carrying this load
for 17 million people.
They choreographed Jackie's career
so that he looked like
the all American boy
he just happened to be a negro.
And what that meant was that
you don't say anything,
you don't do anything
you don't respond,
you don't fight back.
You simply go and play baseball.
I wanna know why they was looking for
somebody who's afraid to fight back
and his answer was stern
"I'm looking for somebody
with guts enough not to fight back."
That's what Willie Mays
patterned himself after.
And so what Branch Rickey
and the white owners did
was to cherrypick the Negro Leagues
often times not even compensating the
teams that he took the players from.
They never compensated the Monarchs
for Jackie Robinson.
Imagine if Major League Baseball
had taken several Negro League Teams
and brought them into
Major League Baseball.
You would have had black ownership.
It would have been true integration.
What it was ultimately was
a poaching of the best players
from the Negro League
that ultimately destroys the league
because it made
the Negro League teams obsolete.
Jackie Robinson
walked through the door
but there had to be
more than just one
to actually stamp it
that we're all here.
Black African Americans are here,
we're all in the league
and Willie's part of that history.
Willie was in five World Series,
including the 1948
last Negro League World Series ever.
And we defeated Kansas City
to get in the Negro World Series
last Negro League World Series.
I did win the only game
we won in relief
against the Homestead Grays.
They defeated us four games to one.
And that was the end of the league.
The Birmingham Black Barons,
they were a terrific bunch of guys.
If I was about 15 and 16, I guess
they had scouts watching me, and
they signed me with the Giants and
as you know, they signed me
right out of high school.
Eddy Montague signed me
to the Giants at that time
and I said there,
well, I'm going where the money is.
The Giants run a historic franchise
a National League team
dating back to 1883.
For many of those years
the Giants had been New York's team
not the Yankees
but after the Dodgers, you know,
they signed Jackie Robinson
and that worked out beautifully.
Then they signed Roy Campanella,
and they signed Don Newcombe.
And immediately they had 3 players
from the old Negro Leagues
who were three of the best and
biggest stars in the National League.
So I think Horace Stoneham
the owner of the Giants
whose father had owned the Giants
Horace Stoneham finally realized
we're being left in the dust;
we need to get some players here.
So they did get Monte Irvin
and Hank Thompson
but they also got Willie Mays.
They sent him to the minor leagues
for some seasoning.
So imagine a high school kid
who just graduated
assigned to the Trenton Giants
in New Jersey.
And you go from an all black league
to an all whiten league.
And I'm a teenager, playing in this
and I'm playing
some of these cities in the south.
And I'm not hearing the things
I heard in the Negro Leagues.
Trenton, New Jersey,
that was the interstate league.
I was the first black
in that particular league.
And we played in a town
called Hagerstown, Maryland.
Oh, I never forget
this day, on a Friday
and they call you
all kinds of names there
nigger this, nigger that, and they...
and I said to myself
and which I thin...
this is why Piper Davis
came in in my mind
"Hey, whatever they call you,
they can't touch you.
Don't... don't talk back."
And that was his thing, if he had
anger about it
he left it on the field.
That's how he responded to
racism that came toward him.
It was like then I'll just
destroy you on the field.
So he went to AAA.
Their AAA team was in Minneapolis
a team called
the Minneapolis Millers.
He was just destroying
the pitching in AAA.
Stealing bases,
making great plays in the outfield.
Willie could do it all.
Name a skill in baseball
and Willie excelled at it.
And the Giants
were not doing that well.
They were kind of
stumbling around a little bit.
So in late May
after his 20th birthday
- Hey, Leo!
- Leo Durocher, the Giants manager
- brought him up from Minneapolis.
- Hey, Leo!
Well, of course, Charlie
I'm very prejudiced when it comes
to Willie Mays. I think
he's the greatest ballplayer
we have today.
Leo, oh my God, I...
Leo, he took care of me, man.
Leo Durocher was
a Runyonesque character.
He was a baseball guy, obviously
but he also hung around
with Hollywood types.
He was married
to the actress Laraine Day.
He was suspended from baseball
for a year in the 1940s
for his association with
supposedly unsavory characters.
He had been on the Yankees
with Babe Ruth.
Here was a guy who spanned
a lot of baseball history.
He managed both the Dodgers
and the Giants.
And Leo loved Willie Mays.
But when I met Leo
it was in spring training.
They had me playing left field.
And left field was too short.
There wasn't enough room out there
for me to move around in.
And I caught about four or five balls
in centerfield very easy, no problem.
Leo said, "That's your position
when we bring you up
you're gonna play centerfield."
Did you have a hard time adjusting?
No, I didn't have
a hard time adjusting.
I had a hard time
just trying to hit the ball.
When he first joined us,
I know he went over 24 or 25
whatever it was.
And I was a little disturbed, and
one of my coaches came into me
Herman Franks, and said that
"You better go talk to your boy
he's sitting in front of his locker
So I went down
and put my arm around Willie.
He was sitting there sobbing.
He said, "Listen, Leo."
He talked in a high-toned voice.
"Charlie," he said, "Mr. Leo,"
he said, "I can't play up there."
He said, "It's too tough for me
I can't hit and I know you're gonna
send me back to Minneapolis."
And I put my arm around him, I said
"Son, as long as I'm the manager
of the New York Giants
you're gonna be the centerfielder.
We brought you here
to play centerfield
and you're gonna play centerfield
today, tomorrow, next week,
next month and as long as I'm here.
Go home, get a good night's rest.
Tomorrow is another day."
The following day
against Warren Spahn
the first ball pitched,
over the roof.
And believe me, Charlie
he literally carried us on his back
for the next six weeks.
Willie looked up to Leo
like a second father.
And Leo looked at Willie as the guy
who is gonna turn this team around.
Because of that,
Willie just went off in New York.
I think Leo might have been the guy
who first coined
the idea of a five tool player.
There is no question in my mind
but what he can do
the five essential things
better than any other player today.
And that's hit, hit with power,
run, field and throw.
Willie is a 10 on a 10 scale
in all five of those:
hit for average
hit for power
run, field, throw.
So come to 1951
this team could win
because this guy's gonna lead us
to the World Series, I'm telling ya'.
He helped the Giants turn
that season around in a big way.
The Giants in one of the greatest
pennant races in history
the greatest comeback of all time.
He was on deck when Bobby Thomson
hit the shot heard around the world.
There's a long drive. It's gonna be.
I believe The Giants
have the pennant!
The Giants have the pennant!
The Giants...
Bottom of the 9th, they're down 4-1
Bobby Thomson hits the 3-run homer,
Giants win it 5-4.
Everybody was running to home plate.
I was the last guy to get to
home plate because I didn't realize
that the game was over.
We won the pennant
and we were just having,
you know, a good time after that.
And then when it went
into the clubhouse
everybody was drinking
champagne and stuff like that.
They gave me
a little bit of champagne
and they tell me that I fell out.
And when I woke up,
I was home in the bed.
Because it was the World Series
everybody watched the World Series.
It really put Willie
in that spotlight nationally.
New York really was the capital
of baseball at that point.
Not only were there great teams
but some of the most significant
and historic players
in the game's history
were there at the same time.
Bobby Brown uncorks a mighty blast.
It sends Mays ranging
far back to haul it in.
He slips and falls hard
when he tries to put on the brakes.
And Woodling jogs easily
to third after the fact.
DiMaggio comes into the batter's box.
Joe connects with a solid blow
and spouts a mighty 2-run homer.
The Yankees ended up
winning it in six games.
The Yankees take
the series four games to two.
And thus
the record book closes on 1951
one of the most brilliant
and thrilling years
in all the exciting
history of baseball.
I had a good year in '51.
I think I had 274,
but it was, it was good.
So here's
a 20-year-old Willie Mays in '51.
He introduces himself
and he's in the World Series.
He's a year out of high school.
He's a starting centerfielder
in the Polo Grounds
and the following May
he's drafted into the army.
I, Willie Howard Mays,
do solemnly swear, do solemnly swear
that I will bear
true faith and allegiance
that I will bear
true faith and allegiance
in the United States of America,
in the United States of America.
I tried to get a whole year in
with the Giants
but they called me.
Willie's drafted into the army
not to fight but to play ball,
to entertain the troops.
I traveled all over,
'cuz I played the army, navy, marines
all those guys. We killed 'em.
And during the Korean War
he introduced the basket catch
to the world.
The guys gave me
the name the basket catch.
Every time I would catch it, "Oh,
he's making the basket catch today."
And the basket catch is, you know,
we're all taught as little leaguers
two hands, see the ball
into the glove.
Well, Willie, no, I'm gonna
catch it down here at belt level.
And then when I got out of the army
to come back to the Giants
they just threw that in,
the writers, I'm talking about.
And then it just got took
and shoo, they just ran with it.
He played in the army for two years.
When he came out of the army in '54
Mays came back to his home in Harlem
and came back to the Giants.
But Willie's time
in Harlem in the '50s
was crucial to his development
as a man as well as a ballplayer.
He was just a teenager in Alabama
but now here he was living in one
of the biggest cities in the world
in the most famous
black community in America.
Willie lived on St. Nicholas Place
just a block and a half
from the Polo Grounds
but his main hangout was
the Red Rooster on 7th Ave.
In the 130s
which was part of a vibrant strip
of bars and nightclubs.
The Red Rooster was a short drive
or walk from the Polo Grounds.
Willie would go there,
he liked to play pool.
They'd give him a table in the back
where he could eat
after the game and socialize.
He didn't drink or smoke
but he liked to hang out there
and enjoy his celebrity.
Supposedly the uptown gamblers
they wouldn't let him
hang out too late
they made sure he went home
and got his sleep
when they bet on the Giants.
Red Rooster, that's a...
that was a... the restaurant.
That was George Woods
and George, I don't know
if somebody must have called him
because every night about nine
here he come...
"You gotta go home."
And I said,
"What do you mean I got to go?
It's just only nine o'clock."
"No, no, no, you gotta go home."
Because I had a big table for about
ten in the back of the restaurant.
So they parked my car right
by the backdoor of the Red Rooster
and they made sure
that I didn't get in no trouble.
And imagine, you know,
your table at the Red Rooster
you're not in no hurry
to go back to Alabama.
Not only is Willie Mays
in Harlem, he's the man.
Everybody took care of me,
made sure I got back home.
Made sure that I got to the ballpark
made sure that no one bothered me
because everybody on 7th Avenue
knew who I was.
They... they didn't... nobody said
nothing out of the way to me.
The kids find out that
I can play stickball
and they knocked
on my window every day.
In the South,
we didn't call it stickball
we called it like broom ball.
And that's how I learned
how to hit the ball.
We'd take the mop, cut the head off,
and now we've got a long stick.
When it bounces and come up to me,
I could hit it a long ways.
So a lot of the mornings
he would play stickball
with the kids
in the streets of Harlem
and then afterward treat 'em
to cake and ice cream.
All the kids, they come by like
eight, nine o'clock in the morning.
I had to play for about an hour.
When I played a night game, I'd go
out to play stickball with the guys
about three or four o'clock.
And then I'd go to the ballpark
all the time.
And the kids enjoyed that very much.
It was just a fun time.
Can you imagine the great Willie Mays
plays stickball just like rest of us.
So there were a lot of things
that we identified with Willie.
Willie's first year with the Giants
was my second year broadcasting
so really we were both kids.
And I gravitated to him
because I loved the way he played.
I think most of us were absolutely
blown away by his overall ability.
And it was his attitude.
To me, in watching him
he wasn't a big leaguer
he was a kid playing the outfield
and loving every minute of it.
Mays catching this one like a seagull
dipping for a fish. There he goes!
This is the new Willie Mays
and the country is on fire
because of this man.
He just lights up every ballpark.
My dad took me
to one game at the Polo Grounds.
We're seated
down the right field line
and I'm on my father's shoulders
when he says to me, "Bobby,
look, see that player right there?
That's Willie Mays."
As if he was saying to his son
the equivalent of son
that's the Washington Monument,
that's the Grand Canyon
you'll never forget having been here.
That's Willie Mays.
The epitome of Willie Mays
at the Polo Ground
was the famous catch in 1954
Game 1 of the World Series
New York Giants against
the heavily favored Cleveland Indians
of the American League.
And the Indians that year
had a great pitching staff
a deep lineup of good defense.
They were stacked, 111 wins.
They were expected
to sweep that Series.
The catch in '54
the most famous catch in World Series
history that live son to this day
turned that World Series around.
Vic Wertz hit a ball over his head.
With a runner
at first and second base
Vic Wertz hit a shot! It's a home run
in any other ballpark.
Vic hit the ball so hard and so high.
But what made it amazing
was Willie played shallow
and Willie ran.
But there goes Willie!
Willie sprinted back on the ball.
He didn't worry about any wall
because it was so deep.
With his back to the infield,
running on the dead run, looked up.
The ball dropped over his shoulder.
He reached out and made the catch.
Part of it was
catching it over your head.
That's what made it amazing.
And then he just turned around
and winged it.
I caught it very quickly and
got rid of it back into the infield.
And he a miraculous catch as
he stops us just short of the wall.
He sends that ball back
to the infield in a split second.
They had Larry Doby.
Larry's on second.
And Willie knew that
the ball was so deep
that there was a good chance that
that runner would score.
He had to come back, touch third,
go back to second, touch second
and he didn't even score.
When Willie Mays went back
for that catch
and them 30 yards went to 40 yards
and a little further
that's to us as athletes,
makes it phenomenal.
Those 6.5 seconds
from the time Wertz hits the ball
'til the time Mays let go of the ball
are 6.5 seconds in American history
that everybody should know about.
What you have just seen
is a glimpse of athletic genius.
That catch is
one of the greatest
athletic performances
in sports history.
And with the momentum
created by Willie's catch
the Giants won the World Series.
In the clubhouse, bedlam breaks loose
as television crews, photographers
and newspapermen endeavor
to record the scene.
That World Series was one of
the biggest upsets of all time.
And television was just
becoming a big thing.
Before that, everybody listened
to the World Series.
Everybody was tuned in one way
or the other to the World Series.
Baseball, America's #1 sport
and one which has a season
running for half the year
is #1 on television, too.
The athletes' audience
is vastly increased.
Television holds them
by the millions.
I think it's important
that Willie spent the first portion
of his career in New York
because when television was
in its infancy
and there weren't
that many games on TV
the nation by in large saw the
All Star Game and the World Series
and they watched television shows
that emanated from New York.
Another great star from Alabama
Willie Mays
led the National League with 342.
And at that time, to see
any black person on television
was rare.
Well, Ed, I've had
a few base hits in my career
but I think the biggest thrill I got
up until the ball was caught, that is
was the ball that Willie caught
in the World Series of last year.
I think I also got more publicity
out of that ball, too.
Well, Willie, when did you change
your method of catching a ball?
And what... How long ago was it?
Well, I spent two years
in the army and
I said to myself now
when I come out of the army
I have to, you know,
have something new.
I said well I better
practice on this now.
Well, I, you know, perfected it
pretty good, I use it.
What is the difference
and how do you?
Well, it relaxes me, I can take it
easy that way. I don't know...
You didn't relax Vic Wertz.
That's all I gotta say to you.
So the whole country had
a better sense of them
than they did of the stars on
other teams outside their own cities.
So here's Willie Mays
the first great African American
superstar after the war.
Willie Mays busted through to show
the world that baseball is changing.
I came to New York when I was 19.
I was very shy.
I didn't know anybody.
I started saying,
"Come here, say hey."
We had a lot of
great New York writers would say
"Oh, that go to Say Hey Kid"
and it stuck with me.
Say Hey.
1958 will always be remembered
as the year Major League Baseball
came to the west coast
and baseball takes top billing
as the spotlight shines
on the San Francisco Giants.
And in 1958 Horace Stoneham
moves to San Francisco
because the O'Malleys
are moving to Los Angeles.
Walter O'Malley broke the hearts
of Brooklyn fans
moving the Dodgers to LA
but the same thing happened
to Giants fans.
Giants fans told me this story
Horace Stoneham broke my heart
when he moved the Giants
and I've never forgiven him
but Willie Mays
as long as they had Willie Mays,
I still cared about the Giants.
In San Francisco, the big city
is big league for the first time
and again, a parade down
Market Street bids the Giants welcome
as they open the season
in their new home.
By that time I think
Willie was the Giants.
He was the face of the franchise.
I think that without Willie Mays
you don't have the Giants
that we've all come to know
and love in the Bay area.
It's hard for me to imagine
San Francisco being interested
in the Giants moving
from New York without Willie Mays.
He was a lynchpin factor
in that deal being made.
A an extra burst of cheers
greets Willie Mays.
The Say Hey Kid is at home already.
A parade that marks
the making of baseball history
San Francisco Giants
meet Los Angeles Dodgers.
The west coast's first
big league baseball game ever
but incidentally, a continuation
of an old, old diamond rivalry.
Seals Stadium,
the new home of the Giants
is a beehive of activity
as ushers and ticket takers
prepare for the big rush
in the new era of baseball.
The Say Hey Kid, Willie Mays gets
his first safety in San Francisco
to put Mantel on first and second.
Willie Kirkland touches Ron Negray
for a single
that produces a final run.
And the San Francisco Giants make
a successful debut in their new home
by thrashing Los Angeles
8 to nothing.
23,000 fans leave Seals Stadium
confident that Major League Baseball
is on the west coast to stay.
When the Giants and the Dodgers
moved to the west coast
it made it truly a national game.
But in San Francisco
they did not warm to Willie
when he first got here.
Why didn't they embrace
Willie Mays in San Francisco?
Well, for one thing, Joe DiMaggio.
DiMaggio was born and raised
in San Francisco
and had played for
the San Francisco Seals
in the Pacific Coast League
before going to the Yankees
so he's already a legend.
He's their centerfielder.
He was a man about town.
He had his own restaurant. It was
the Toot Shor's of San Francisco.
So Willie shows up, but
this is Joe DiMaggio's town.
That's Joe DiMaggio's stadium.
That's Joe DiMaggio's position.
Who is Willie Mays?
Willie Mays was a New York Giant.
These are San Francisco Giants.
They played at Seals Stadium
the first two years.
Seals Stadium was big, 420 to center.
Without doubt, Mays finds himself
playing in the shadow of
San Francisco's own Joe DiMaggio.
San Francisco wants a winner.
But the fans don't get it
those first years at Seals Stadium
even with Mays hitting
a career high of 347 in 1958.
Willie's gone through
a lot of racial discrimination
even here in San Francisco
where San Francisco is probably
the most un-racist part of
this state, as you can imagine.
I mean they'll shut down anything
for equality here
which I really respect and love
but you know, at one point
Willie did go through that.
I think they accepted him
as a athletic star
but not as a person
they wanted to live next door to
not as a person that they want
to have their kids hang out with.
In the late '50s,
San Francisco was different.
For openers, you couldn't be
a policeman if you were black.
You couldn't be a deputy sheriff.
You couldn't be a fireman.
You couldn't live in certain parts
of the city if you were black.
White people were more honest
in those days.
They told you upfront that you were
not welcome in the neighborhood.
And it was the same
all over the city.
Willie wanted to live
on Miraloma Drive in San Francisco
and Willie and his then wife
Margherite, tried to buy a house
on Miraloma Drive.
They picked out a home
a beautiful home overlooking
the water.
And Willie was denied. Why?
Because of the color of his skin.
Willie Mays was
a celebrity of great stature.
He could afford
the 35 or 40,000 dollars
for homes in that neighborhood.
He could not buy there.
That neighborhood went crazy.
They didn't want Willie Mays
or anybody else black
in their neighborhood.
Some white guy sold him the house.
And then the guy had to pull back.
The mayor said, "Hey,
you could live over here with me
live in my house
until you find another place."
He said, "No, I want this place."
The realtor said,
"Hey, I can find you
another place
in another neighborhood."
Willie said, "No, I want this place."
An organization called
the Council for Civic Unity
jumped in on Willie Mays' behalf.
Did you make a deposit on the house?
Yes, we did, yes. I see.
And there's been some discussion
about you not being able
to buy it, is that correct?
Well, not now. The guy, the owner
just called me today and said
he was very happy to sell me the
house in the... in the neighborhood.
- I see.
- I don't know what was disturbing...
They finally did get the house
but it was over
the objections of the neighbors.
In years to come, Mays would receive
everything from daily advice
in the newspapers
to a bottle thrown by a fanatic
through his front room window.
That bottle came
and it caused the then Mrs. Mays
to want to get back to New York
as fast as she could.
And that may have contributed
to their divorce.
You indicated that you and Willie
might move back to New York
after this season.
Does this mean you like New York
or dislike San Francisco?
What's the real reason?
Well, we like San Francisco
and we like New York
and we still have a home in the east.
Willie Mays' efforts
to get a house in this city
was as important as
his 660th home run for San Francisco
because it launched
the real dedicated effort
to integrate this city.
Willie got the house, and he'll
tell you that it's not just for me
it's for the next guy
to move into the neighborhood.
It's for the next minority
who wants to buy a home there
because that next minority's
not gonna be Willie Mays.
Willie Mays had the power
to open the door for others
and in that particular case he did.
In the end, the evidence
not only of his greatness
but of the joy that he brought
to the field transmitted to the fans.
Willie was about joy
as much as he was about greatness.
He won them over.
Sophisticated San Francisco
lets its hair down
and embraces baseball to its bosom.
Willie Mays and his flashy plays
make an immediate hit.
Willie Mays,
San Francisco's Say Hey hero
twice the humpback ball to right.
Pafko just misses a shoe swing catch
as Mays blazons the bases
for a double.
Giant jubilation
literally rocks the joint.
They played at Seals Stadium
the first two years, '58 and '59
while Candlestick was being built.
$15 million Candlestick Park is
opened by the San Francisco Giants
for the inaugural of
the 1960 National League Season.
Giants owner Horace Stoneham
welcomes Vice President Nixon.
And with a Giant on base
Willie Mays draws a walk.
I think it was the writer
Jack London who said
the coldest winter I ever spent
was July in San Francisco.
At Candlestick Park with the winds
swirling literally in June and July
those winds did not help
Willie Mays' home run total.
Candlestick Park
the worst place in the bay area
to put a stadium
right next to the bay, windy, cold.
The designers brought the city
officials out at 11:00 in the morning
and said,
"God, what a beautiful place."
Well, they didn't go at night
'cuz if they showed up at night,
it's the windiest place on earth.
But that's where
Candlestick Park was built.
And for Mays and the Giants
playing at night at Candlestick Park
can sometimes be quite an experience.
Candlestick Park was open air.
The winds would pour in
from left field generally.
The wind would blow it
to the right center.
I had to wait until that wind hit it
and then it come, come straight down.
Willie was having home runs
knocked down to left field.
I couldn't hit the ball
out of the ballpark.
The wind would blow it back.
And I hit it hard.
So Willie didn't complain
he adjusted and learned how to adapt
his swing to Candlestick Park.
There was a jet stream out
in right center
so he got the ball up and out.
I would... I would've hit
another 10, maybe 10 or 15.
Right hand hurler Larry Jackson
gives Orlando Cepeda one he likes.
400 feet into deep center
for a triple!
You have to go
to a night game in Candlestick
so you can experience
the coldest night ever.
It was so cold that
you're afraid to swing
because you hit the ball hard
some plays
but you'll be like this
for three innings.
The reason I came to play ball
was because of Willie
when Willie Mays came
to Puerto Rico in 1954.
Players often would play winter ball.
They would go
not only to hone their skills
but to make extra money
in Puerto Rico
or sometimes even Cuba back then.
It was huge because the islands
would incorporate their own players
with the great American ballplayers.
I was a bat boy
for the team
that would play in Puerto Rico.
After watching Willie play
I want to be a ballplayer.
The Giants signed
quite a few of the Latin players
especially Dominican players.
The Giants got ahead
of the other major league teams.
When I walked through that gate
to the San Francisco Giants
to go to the clubhouse
Felipe Alou and Orlando Cepeda
was waiting for me.
And they gave me a big welcome.
They introduced me to each player
in San Francisco Giants.
I'm gonna be playing
on the same field with Willie Mays.
And I said, "Why!" He said
"Cup check", I didn't know that
but I had the cup, of course!
He's laughing.
This fellow is the greatest
baseball player of our time.
Mays is in a class by himself.
Then you start rating
the other ballplayers.
You start rating the Mickey Mantels
the Ted Williams, the Stan Musials
but none of them could do
the things that Willie Mays could do
because Willie could
do so many things.
He was the shortstop
when I was in New York.
He came to California
and he was my manager.
He made me the captain
of the whole team on the field.
Whatever I said,
that's what they did.
If they didn't do it,
they didn't play.
You had the power to bench
a guy the next day regardless of
what Alvin Dark or Herman Franks
or whoever was the manager said?
I ran the field, you know,
and I said to Herman
"You run the bench,
I'll run the field."
I didn't have a coach when I played.
I didn't have one.
Everything I did was on my own.
And I told him, I said, "Man,
I don't know if I can do that."
"Yes, you can.
You do whatever
you want to do on the field
and I'll take care
of the rest of it."
You just had a sense of the game.
The rule that we had when I played,
this one hand, it go left or right.
Anytime that hand move,
you gotta move.
That's the only rule
we ever had in the outfield.
Now, if you didn't see that
you didn't play the next day.
Very simple.
Willie was the leader of our team,
yeah, there was no question about it.
We didn't have nobody
on the team that... that
could lead us
the way that Willie did.
So we start gelling very quickly,
all the guys began to play together
not no one man playing this,
one man playing that.
I wanted nine guys on that field
to play together.
That's all I wanted.
And once we play together,
we can win.
Orlando Cepeda hammers
the ball into deep right center.
Mays trots home from third
and Cepeda pulls up
at second base for the double.
Marichal, a perennial All-Star
is ready to take on the American
League's best once again.
After he retires the first two,
Lee Walls flies to Willie Mays
charging in. Alou dives
and comes up with the ball.
Marichal was one of
several Latin players
to pay handsome dividends
to the Giants.
In '62, Willie had
an MVP caliber year.
He hit 49 home runs.
Led San Francisco
to their first post season.
They had this incredible final week.
So now it's a best of three playoff,
Giants and Dodgers, just like '51.
Game 3 is at Dodgers Stadium.
This is the year
Dodgers Stadium opened.
And they did big time
box office business.
But the Dodgers go to
the ninth inning ahead, 4-2.
The Giants start rallying.
The Giants get four runs
to go ahead 6-4.
And Willie Mays had
one of the big hits in the rally.
The Dodgers just fell apart.
And finally, there's a fly ball
to Willie Mays in centerfield.
Lee Walls flies to Willie Mays
for the final out.
And he takes the ball
out of his glove
and he flings it up into the stands.
Giants have won the pennant.
And now it's on to San Francisco
and the World Series
with the New York Yankees.
We played good to beat the Dodgers.
And we played good in
the World Series against the Yankees.
The next day they're facing
Whitey Ford at Candlestick Park.
The World Series for the first time
has come to San Francisco.
With the players lined up
on the infield
the crowd comes to attention
for the national anthem.
I remember
we started in San Francisco.
They win one, we win one,
and we went to Yankee Stadium.
Willie Mays takes batting practice.
The tying run is now at the plate
but Davenport flies to Tresh
for the final out
and the Yankees again lead
in the series, two games to one.
And I started the fourth game
I was pitching the best game
of my life.
I strike out Mickey Mantel twice.
I end up winning that game.
And the game five, we lost.
We came back to San Francisco.
They were coming back
from New York for Games 6 and 7
and there were several days of rain.
The worst storm in a century
hit the bay area.
The field at Candlestick had
absorbed rain for four days in a row.
It was wet. They had
brought in helicopters.
There's these incredible pictures of
the helicopters hovering low
over the field at Candlestick
and they're trying
to dry off the field.
The fans are on edge because
the Giants are fighting for survival.
Willie Mays never seems
to lose his zest or his brilliance.
So finally the bottom
of the 9th inning of Game 7...
Willie's at the plate
the 9th inning of the 7th Game
of the 1962 World Series.
Before I got to bat,
Matty Alou bunted.
Matty Alou is on first base
with two out.
Yankees lead 1-nothing.
Willie's the hitter.
He doubles down the right field line.
When I hit the ball
it didn't go to the fence
like it usually go.
He caught it
before it went to the fence.
But it was wet.
Roger Maris makes
a really good play to cut it off
before it gets to the fence.
He fielded a wet ba...
it had to be soaking wet baseball
and he fired a perfect relay throw
to Bobby Richardson, the second
baseman, who was a gold glover.
And then Richardson threw
to the plate on one hop
right to Elston Howard, the catcher.
The third base coach
held up Matty Alou.
And the story was always felt that
Matty would have been dead
if he'd tried to score.
But Willie...
I asked Willie about that.
Willie said to me
"If I had been the runner
instead of the batter
I would have run right through
that stop sign.
I would have made them
make a perfect play to get me."
And we had Matty at third
and me at second.
The next batter, McCovey,
he hit a line drive.
Willie McCoy hit
right to Bobby Richardson.
And he caught the ball
in short right, right field.
A couple of inches either way
and the Giants score two runs
and win the game 2-1.
The 20th World Championship
won by the New York Yankees
who's carried off the field
on the shoulders...
The Giants won
only one pennant in the '60s
but they had
the best record in the '60s.
They finished second
five straight years.
They were a great team.
We have seven Latin players
so we talked Spanish.
I remember in the dugout
one time, you know
I don't wanna say the name who did it
but he come up to me and said
"Juan, Speak english,
you're in America."
Alvin Dark turned off
a lot of minorities.
He said some things
some very regrettable things.
I remember what happened to Orlando.
With my case, because I like,
I love music so much
I got a record player with me
on the big LP
but Alvin Dark, because he don't
like music, he tried to stop me.
And he gave order
to the clubhouse man
for me not to bring my music
with me on the road.
If I can't bring my music with me,
I'm not going nowhere.
He would not allow Spanish
to be spoken in the clubhouse.
Cepeda and some of the other
minorities were ready to walk out.
It was gonna be a mutiny.
Willie had to talk to Alvin
about the situation.
He said you go and you do
what you have to do
and I will back you up
to the fullest.
And he did, Alvin Dark,
that's why I say
a lot of people say
well he's a racist.
I don't think so.
Willie got in between
and Willie tried to tell me
you're a baseball player
put aside the manager,
whatever he say.
If you do well,
everybody gonna like you.
So that really helped me.
Willie was always
like that. He was...
he just saw things differently.
You know, Willie just said
just let's play the game.
You know, let's just...
We got to stick together.
Let's just play the game. He had just
a different perspective on things
and a more of
an outgoing personality toward that.
Alvin kept doing it.
There was gonna be a mutiny.
Alvin was fired after the season.
So Willie's a great uniter.
He's a great peacemaker, the captain.
The Giants had the best road
attendance in the National League
throughout the '60s.
They had the Alou brothers.
They had Cepeda.
They had McCovey, Marichal, Perry
but it was Mays
who brought the fans in.
It was Mays who united that team
who made that team good enough
for everybody to want
to go see the Giants.
I got this Willie Mays bat last week.
I told the youngsters...
that I'd ask you to give them
a couple of tips on hitting.
I could've used this bat today, Ed.
Why you give it to me now?
Willie was so naturally effervescent
and such a gifted storyteller
and so comfortable
in front of the cameras that
much of white America
felt comfortable with him.
He wasn't outwardly political
so that might... may
have put people at ease.
Hey, Sam!
Say hey, Willie.
I did three or four different things
that came out of Hollywood.
- Willie, what a nice surprise.
- How are you?
Will you join us?
Oh, no, thank you, Donna.
I just stopped by to see
a friend of mine, he owns this place.
It used to be an empire, you know.
I remember asking Willie about this
there are no black people
on any of these sitcoms
but Willie Mays would just show up
as if that was
a natural course of things.
So here's Donna Reed,
having lunch with a white lady
and all of the sudden
Willie Mays shows up.
Wait 'til I tell the doctor
that I met little ol' Say Hey.
The incongruity of the scene was
apparently lost on most viewers
and then he walked away with a check.
I did The Tonight Show,
What's My Line
Ed Sullivan.
What's the greatest streak you've
ever had in baseball, would you say?
Well, my, I had two. I...
My greatest in baseball was last week
when I hit my 512th home runs
to break Mel Otts.
Just a couple of days
before his birthday in 1966
Willie Mays hit #512. He broke
Mel Otts' National League record
and became
the number one home run slugger
in National League history.
Giants were in New York.
The Ed Sullivan Show was the big
national show on Sunday nights.
It was live. His fame has gone
coast to coast by that time.
Willie Mays lives alone
behind miles of drawn curtains
searching for whatever privacy
there is off the field
that quiet time alone.
The life of a celebrity
is not always ideal.
You have to pay a price
that quite often is greater than
or as great as the cheers,
and plaudits and the wealth.
So San Francisco was not like
center of black folk
because it was not as social.
There was not such thing
as a black Harlem.
In the bay area
and in the city at some point
Margherite and Willie Mays,
they got divorced.
Willie Mays is not
a social butterfly.
Even today,
that's who Willie Mays is.
He was never a player
a street player.
He was a baseball player
but being Willie Mays,
you know, Willie Mays is...
he's always with it.
Willie's home, decorated
all in gold and white
is high on a hill, overlooking
the famous Golden Gate Bridge.
He leads the gracious life
of a superstar
in these luxury surroundings.
Yeah, that was
the best house to be a kid in.
He cut a hole
in the living room floor
and put like a spiral staircase
down to the garage
so it was like the bat cave.
The gold clock says 10:15
the time to be going to the park
to play Los Angeles again.
Willie after a night game and
a late meal gets home past midnight
so there's very little time to relax.
The games just keep coming,
night and day.
The fans have been very good to me.
They've been great,
and they've always been coming here
but I don't worry about
the grown people too much.
I worry more about the kids.
I'm Mike Murphy. I've been
with the Giants for 63 years.
I started as the bat boy.
If you needed something,
you'd go see Willie.
He took care of me when I was a kid.
He'd give us money to go eat lunch or
"Hey kids, here's 20 bucks,
go eat lunch."
20 bucks in the '50s
was a lot of money.
He'd never refuse anybody.
You know, kids go up to him and
you know, ask him
for autographs and everything.
When he arrives at Candlestick,
the kids are there to greet him
and beyond the gate
his quiet private hours are over.
I bet you every one of those kids
got an autographed baseball
a photograph from him
because that's who
Willie Mays really was.
And that made him
an even bigger star.
He surpassed the white superstars.
He comes from a family
and a place where
everybody helps everybody.
I guess he's paying it forward
he's seeing people helping me,
I need to help people.
Willie's in the prime of his career
with the San Francisco Giants.
So many people, not just
ballplayers or even athletes
people who grew up in that area
in various walks of life
speak with such reverence
about Willie Mays
and what he meant to their childhood
or their adolescence.
He was a gigantic star.
Willie Mays played so frequently
and he was so durable
that from 1951 through 1962,
he missed 21 games.
Giants lost 14 of them
so no wonder managers wanted him
to play every single day.
He played to an extent that he was
literally exhausted and passed out.
This happened
three or four times in his career.
And was rushed to the hospital
and would often spend
a couple of nights at the hospital
where he'd be rejuvenated and
return to the field and keep playing.
But in the '50s and '60s,
that was Willie Mays
he did not wanna stop
until he literally passed out.
I think the era of baseball
at that time
was you don't get sick, you don't
get hurt, you don't get tired.
Black players don't get that
and we play every day.
I learned that from those guys.
That was the Mays era
and started my era.
The easy jobs in the front office
that paid six figures
black players don't get
those kind of jobs.
Those are for the white players.
We knew what the situation was
because by 1968
the masses of blacks had grown tired
and impatient with litigation
and legislation, and gradualism.
They began to struggle
for dignity and respect.
We're gonna do what we're going to do
regardless whether white folks
believe us or not.
See what I'm saying?
And that's boycott.
I'm saying that we're going to do
what's in the interest
of black people
whatever it is.
And that's when the athletes
in the mid 1960s decided
we've got to make a clean,
hard break with our fathers
not just Willie Mays,
but that whole era of athletes
who found it necessary and imperative
to simply shut up and play.
And you had Jim Brown,
Muhammad Ali, and Bill Russell.
You had Arthur Ashe. You had
Tommie Smith and John Carlos
who took it international.
These athletes were saying
we're not just commodities
for your entertainment and pleasure
we are full, complete
and total human beings.
And we demand to be treated as such.
Said that on the international stage
12 years after
Jackie Robinson had retired.
He made the statement,
"I never had it made
because I realize I'm a black man
in a racist white society."
Willie didn't want any part of that.
And this is where he actually drew
criticism from Jackie Robinson.
Willie's personable and he has
great talent, but he's never matured.
He continues to ignore
the most important issue of our time.
He's never had any decent guidance
in these matters
and probably keeps looking
only to his security as a great star.
It's a damn shame
he's never taken part.
He doesn't realize
he wouldn't be where he is today
without the battles
that others have fought.
He thinks it's not his concern,
but it is. Jackie Robinson.
Jackie ripped him.
He said wouldn't it be wonderful
if this young superstar could tell us
about leaving Birmingham and being
denied at the house in San Francisco
and overcoming it all.
I think that's totally unfair 'cause
Willie's always been outspoken.
It's just that Willie saw things
a little bit more calmer,
I guess you can say.
Willie's father always told him
"Don't create chaos,
don't pop off, don't say too much.
Just put your head down, run
the bases and play the game right."
And Willie took that to heart.
Some marched and protested
some won gold medals
in the World Series.
It's about humanizing us.
That's what happened in the '60s.
It's these people made it impossible
for us to be dismissed, ignored.
They brought the light.
Different people do things
in different ways.
I can't, for instance,
go out and picket.
I can't stand on a soap box
and preach.
That simply isn't my nature.
People like Mr. King and Mr. Wilkins
are better equipped than I am
but it's not true what Robinson said
about my not doing anything
for race relationships.
I work for the Job Corps
and I don't know
how many kids groups I've addressed
and will continue to address.
In my own way I believe I'm helping.
You see, I've been doing things
a long time along this line
but I want no credit.
Everyone must do his own job
in his own way, and in my heart
my way is just as important
as Jackie Robinson's way.
I believe understanding
is the important thing.
In my talks to kids I've tried
my best to get that message across.
It makes no difference
whether you are black or white
because we are all God's children
fighting for the same cause.
Let's talk about progress
for a while.
Just look around out there
in the clubhouse.
There are an awful lot of
southern boys on this team
yet we live and play
together in harmony.
It was not possible 15, 16 years ago.
Today's kids don't have
the hardships Jackie and I had
and they realize and appreciate it.
Today, for instance, we play
as many as five or six negroes
at the same time on our ball club.
And once in Atlanta we had eight
or nine in there at the same time
and Atlanta is a southern town.
Willie Mays
Harry Edwards' famous book,
The Revolt Of The Black Athlete
that's something particular
to the '60s.
Willie came along before
anybody knew who Cassius Clay was
so I want to judge Willie Mays
as Willie Mays.
Willie's always been outspoken,
it's just that
those were the gentlemen
that were picked at that time
as well as Martin Luther King was
our representation of freedom
for... for blacks at the time.
Willie just wasn't on that panel.
It doesn't necessarily mean
Willie wasn't outspoken
for what he believed in.
He believed in what they were saying
and maybe Willie at that time felt
they were
the right candidate for that.
Well, it's almost unfair to suggest
that Willie Mays should
do anything other than
be the proficient professional
he needed to be as a baseball player.
Black people have imposed upon them
the dual responsibility to
not only represent all black people
but to make it comfortable
for even some races
to interact without ever accepting
the racist response
"You're okay,
but the rest of you are not,"
and that's kind of the way
Willie Mays was treated.
He became okay,
but the rest of them were not.
And to the extent he could
be helpful with the NAACP
with the Council for Civic Unity,
with all the other organizations
and with individuals
like Willie Brown
the upcoming lawyer politician,
Willie Mays was helpful.
And we all are not
gonna be Muhammad Ali.
Willie did things for people
behind the scenes
in the dugout,
in the clubhouse, at his home.
So I spoke with Joe Morgan
Hank Aaron,
Frank Robinson, Maury Wills
all of them to a man said
it's wrong to say
that Willie didn't do enough
because he was there for me
he was there for us.
He opened the door for us.
And he did so much more
than people give him credit for.
I met Willie Mays
in spring training in 1968
and he came out of
the Giants dugout. And
"Where's this Reggie Jackson at?
And this Reggie Jackson kid,
I... I want to see this kid.
Reggie Jackson, they tell me
he's... he's a great player, he's...
he's got a lot of power.
Where's this kid, Reggie Jackson?"
You know, I was
the Arizona State kid.
He wanted to introduce himself to me,
and I was absolutely thrilled.
I learned so much from Willie.
As Willie started
getting up there in years
every time there would be
a young outfielder who had promise
there was always talk
of him being the next Willie Mays.
Bobby Bonds
that was the guy they really thought
could really be the next Willie Mays.
Bobby Bonds is off and running.
He had tremendous speed,
tremendous power
great base stealer,
he could to it all.
Bonds gives the Giants
one of the best defensive outfields
ever assembled.
And he can do the impossible.
Willie had a locker
and nobody's next to Willie, but
only special people that he wanted
so we put Bobby next to Willie
and that's how
they became best of friends.
Willie took him under his wing.
I grew up with Bobby.
And the Bondses were...
were the heroes in our town.
I was always with him and my dad
'cuz my dad was always Bobby's coach.
Bobby was the man.
He introduced me to Willie Mays.
I told him I liked his glove that
he had on. It was a kangaroo glove.
And Willie took it off his hand
and gave it to me.
And so I felt a closeness
to, you know, to Willie
and definitely always a close...
a closeness, you know, to Bobby.
And you know, Willie helped Bobby.
You know, he loved Bobby.
My dad loved Willie
more than anything.
Everything was
Willie this in our house
Willie that,
Willie this, Willie this.
You wanna hit, you gotta
hit like Willie, you know.
Throw your hands like this
and everything like that.
And because my dad
idolized Willie Mays
because Willie took
all the black athletes at that time
and he held them on his shoulder.
And we as kids remember this forever.
I was one of those kids that
I mean I was obsessed with Willie.
I would put Willie... I'm left-handed
and I would put Willie's glove
on backwards
just so I could wear his glove.
But it was my parents, you know, that
sat there and told Willie, you know
"You're gonna take this kid."
Cuz I wouldn't want
to leave the locker room.
I didn't want... I followed him
like a little puppy dog. And...
And I guess my dad kind of got fed up
because I remember being on the field
when I was five and six years old and
I guess my dad kind of got fed up
with me just screaming,
"I want to be with Willie,"
crying, "I wanna be with Willie."
And Willie just finally just said,
"Give me that boy,"
you know, like you know,
and he took me out on the field.
Barry Bonds grew up
not only in a baseball household
but as part of baseball royalty.
His mom and dad, Pat and Bobby Bonds
asked Willie Mays to be
the godfather for Barry.
Barry would climb all over
his locker, get in his locker.
He used to say,
"What are you doing in there?
What are you doing in there?"
So they used to grab his gloves and
he'd get mad
if you grabbed his gloves.
As a kid at five years old
I remember saying to him,
"Boy, get out of my locker."
I'll tell you one thing about Say Hey
because you did...
you brought up one catch
and then there's another catch
with him and my father
in San Francisco, okay.
I was mad at my dad 'cuz he hurt
my godfather, like really mad.
Game of the Week
Bobby Tolan, Cincinnati Reds
hits a monster fly ball
to right center, so the ball goes up.
Bobby jumps up, but Willie comes
out of nowhere and jumps over him.
Makes the catch, climbs the
cyclone fence, comes down with it.
They collide.
And Bobby is actually
looking at the ball
and holds the ball up
for the umpire to see.
Willie came out of nowhere, okay
'cuz the ball was hit in right center
and I was a kid
and I was at that game.
My dad's knee hit Willie
in his chest a little bit
and I was so mad at my dad because
Willie was on that ground forever.
I didn't want to talk
to my dad forever.
I was "I don't like you;
you hurt my... you hurt my Willie."
And Willie's on the ground
and the ball's sitting in his glove.
Without the glove falling off
or the ball falling out of your glove
and him hanging onto the ball,
to have now retained the ball
and be knocked out
that to me was the best catch
I've ever seen.
Two things happened at that time.
I got married
and I got traded to the Mets.
The Giants meanwhile
were having a tough time
and business was not going well.
I mean the Stoneham family
was literally going bankrupt.
The Giants used to be
the second highest drawing team
in the National League
behind the Dodgers
and most of those years
second best drawing team
in all of Major League Baseball.
And they would get a million six.
One year they got
a million seven, a million five.
And '68 the A's came out
from Kansas City
and both teams draw 800,000.
And really, where do they expect all
these extra fans were gonna come from
because the Giants had been
the only team?
We used to go from
the east bay over to Candlestick.
Well, now we didn't
have to do that anymore.
We could just go to the Coliseum
we didn't have to go
across the bridge anymore.
It was 1972
and they started trading
some of their higher priced players.
Willie Mays would regularly have
the highest salary in the game.
That's when he got traded.
I think it killed
Horace Stoneham to do it
but they just couldn't afford it.
Mr. Stoneham told me, says "Willie, I
don't have enough money to pay you."
I said, "What do you mean, sir?"
He says, "I gotta
get you back to New York
where you can still make,
you know, quite a bit of money."
So I says
"I don't think I wanna go;
I think I better go home."
He said. "No, no, no
Mrs. Joan Payson
the owner of the Mets
she already called
and she says we got you."
And I said, "I gotta go home."
"No, no, no,
your wife is already here."
She'd been here for two days.
She said, "Write your own contract."
And I said, "Well, I got her now."
So I said, "I, Willie Mays,
would like to
do what I wanna do,
when I wanna do it, at anytime."
And she said,
"Is that what you want?"
"Yes, ma'am."
"You got it." And I said, "Oh, my god
she give me everything that I
asked for; I can't go nowhere else."
When I got back to New York,
it was just like I never left.
What a moment!
This is a sensation in New York.
The feeling that I had
when I came back was...
it just was no expressing it.
It was just a feeling that
a town wanted, I felt coming back.
And I think
they showed that by the way they
treated me when I first came back.
And it's just terrific to be back.
The Giants went to New York
just a few days later
and they played the Mets.
And Willie hits a home run
against the Giants.
And he beats the Giants.
And it's way back in left field.
It could be, it's going going
and it's a home run!
Number 647 in his career.
The way I felt, that the players
on the Giants felt that
if they had to get beaten,
they wanted for me to beat them.
And this is the way I feel
I, you know, running
around the bases, you know.
- It's beautiful.
- Unreal.
I think it's wonderful.
- It's great.
- It's fantastic.
I was always a Willie Mays fan.
The best thing
that ever happened to me.
So May of '72
Joan Payson has the Mets,
brings him home.
He was a key player
on that team in '72
and he was thinking
well, that's it for me
I'm okay if this is my last year.
But Joan Payson wouldn't allow it.
She says one more year,
Willie, one more year.
So Willie agreed
to play one more year.
Those Mets came out of nowhere
to win their division in '73.
It's over! The NY Mets
have won the pennant!
The NY Mets have won the pennant!
The NY Mets have won the pennant
and this is a wild scene!
They find themselves in the World
Series against the Oakland A's.
Game 1 of the '73 World Series
is in Oakland.
Batting third and playing
centerfield, #24, Willie Mays!
Willie Mays never played
at the Oakland Coliseum
and he gets a standing ovation
that might have been
the longest of his career.
But it's Game 2 that
everybody looks at.
Game 2 was at the Oakland Coliseum.
It started in the late afternoon.
I played centerfield the same day.
I almost missed a ball
in the sun off Jerry Grote.
The sun was horrible there that day
and it's always bad
in Oakland in October.
I don't know how they built
the field that way
but someone didn't
have the foresight.
The thing goes 13 innings.
It's the longest World Series
on record through that season.
And Deron Johnson gets up for the A's
and hits a little blooper
into centerfield
and the ball gets by him
and goes into the wall.
And it gets by him.
He lost his footing again,
Deron Johnson's into second.
Willie Mays stumbling again
as he did on the bases.
So later in the game
Reggie hits a triple that
Willie lost in the sun as well.
This Willie Mays stumbled around
in centerfield
because he was old and couldn't play.
No. If he couldn't get
to the ball, I'm okay
but he didn't get to the ball
and drop it
he never did that.
That game is not
an image of Willie Mays.
You could say Willie Mays was old
when he played his last game.
He got a base hit
and he had trouble with the sun
in centerfield in the World Series.
I got that
but Willie Mays was flawless
as a baseball player.
So if somebody wants
to talk about his sun game
you forget about the fact that
he got the go ahead base hit
to put them ahead with
a ground ball single up the middle.
You'll see a picture
that everybody points to.
Bud Harrelson was called out
at the plate by the umpire.
Willie, the on deck hitter
was out there
screaming and yelling at the umpire,
saying you got this wrong, man.
Because that's such a powerful photo
you misread it
if you don't have the context
to understand that he wasn't
as good at 40 as he was at 20
but it's like no,
not only is this dude good
this dude might be
the best there ever was.
There was one very poignant pause
down the home stretch
when Willie Mays announced that
1973 would be his final season
as an active player.
I remember watching Game 7
and the Mets are down three runs
as they come up in the ninth.
And they get two men on base
and I realize he's 42 years old
and at the end of his career
and all the rest.
But I'm thinking
Yogi, send Willie up!
This is Willie Mays' last at bat.
He's already announced
his retirement.
Two out, tying run at the plate.
Send Willie Mays up!
He didn't. Knowles got
Garland out, lost the game.
I asked Willie about
that decades later.
He goes, "I was reaching for a bat.
It was a perfect moment, even if
I struck out. I wanted a chance."
We should've won the World Series
at that time because we...
we did a good job, I thought.
I think I played 'til 42,
a long time.
Ladies and gentlemen, Willie Mays!
I hope that
with my farewell tonight
you will understand
what I'm going through right now
something that I never felt
that I would ever quit baseball.
But as you know, it always come
a time for someone to get out.
And I look at the kids over here
the way they are playing, and the way
they are fighting for themselves
tells me one thing
Willie, say goodbye to America.
Thank you very much.
Everybody have seen me play
know that I love what I'm doing.
This doesn't mean that I'm getting
out of baseball because I'm hurt
but I'm getting out of baseball
because I don't feel that
seeing the way that
I was playing the last...
well, I say the last couple of years
I didn't feel that
the people of America should
look at a guy like myself
that love the game of baseball
and being on the field,
and not being able to produce.
It's difficult right now to even
try to explain to you
how much I love baseball,
and how much baseball mean to me.
I think we had
what you call a love affair.
I think the two together
for 22 years have been terrific.
Fast forward 20 years or so
Willie was not working
for the Giants.
Willie was out of baseball.
This is in late '92
when our group came together
to buy the team.
And Peter Magowan
and I went to Willie
at the very first spring training
that we had in early '93.
And we said,"Willie, you have
to be part of this franchise.
And we want you to have
a lifetime contract."
So it's 1992
and the best free agent on the market
is available for our first year
owning the franchise, 1993.
And how do we get to Barry Bonds?
Well, I don't know him
but there's one person
that can make the pitch, Willie.
There was a call that was made
by Willie to Barry
and when the decision came for Barry
to determine
where he was gonna play in 1993
and where he would play
for the next 15 years
he was very emotional.
And he called up
and I remember being on the other
end of the call and saying, "Look
how can I not come to the home of
my father and my godfather, Willie."
I wanted to go home.
This is what I've always wanted
my whole entire life
and that was really important to me
the most important thing
in the world.
The biggest deal in baseball history
finally went through today
as the San Francisco Giants signed
free agent outfielder Barry Bonds
to a six-year $43.75 million deal.
And I wanna thank the San
Francisco Giants organization for...
for talking to Willie for me
and giving me this opportunity.
And especially Willie
for allowing this to happen.
And Willie called me up,
and he sat there and he said
"I would like for you
to wear my number."
So I was so touched.
I was crying. I was like
this is great, this is great.
Peter was fine with it,
the Giants were fine with it
but Major League Baseball
shut it down.
They said that you can't do that
because if we start taking
uniforms out of retirement
then why are we retiring uniforms
which made perfect sense
to me. I was fine.
And then Willie said,
"Why don't you honor your daddy
and wear #25."
So I have the honor of presenting
my old number, #25, to my son
and a new San Francisco Giant,
Barry Bonds.
And tears flowed.
It's like a boy's dream
that comes true for me.
And I never forget because we were
on stage and Pete Magowan and...
and all the others standing;
Willie's there. And he goes
"You ready."
That's when I knew I was
a complete baseball player
is when I got that stamp
from my godfather.
He had an IQ so high, he can see it.
My godfather played centerfield.
My father played right field
and I wanted to be third generation
and play left field.
Willie was the only one...
and his momma, Pat...
that could put the brakes
and control Barry.
You know, he'd listen
to Bobby most the time
but he listened to Willie
all the time.
Barry and Bobby struggled
you know, like
many fathers and sons do.
Dad, of course, jumped in,
you know, help 'em both out.
They were always there for me.
My dad was there for me,
I was doing off season training.
My dad was in the batting cage with
me every single day I was training.
Willie was there
all the time when I was training.
Willie was there for me
on the baseball field.
And I wanted Willie
to be proud of me so bad that
I ate, drank and lived baseball
24 hours a day.
Bonds with a drive!
Looks like #70 for Barry Bonds!
And it is!
If you look back
at all of Barry Bonds' record
what does he say is most meaningful?
A knuckle ball is hit in the air
to deep right field.
Passing Babe, passing Hank, no
matching Willie Mays, 660.
He hits it home!
When I was going for
the home run record
I didn't want to pass Willie Mays.
That was my godfather.
That was the only thing
I never wanted to do
it was to pass Willie Mays.
And that was very hard for me.
And so Willie sat me aside
and I was like, "Willie, I can't
do it because it's too emotional
you're gonna come out on the field,
I'm gonna start crying."
And he said, "You better pass me
and then you better keep going."
I did it because of Willie.
delivers, and Bonds hits it
deep to right field
and in to McCovey Cove!
And he said, "You pass me,
and you keep passing next
and you keep going until
they rip that uniform off you."
Bonds passes Babe Ruth.
He is second
on the all-time home run list.
I've got to thank all of you.
My family, my dad.
I was very, very lucky
to have two of the greatest teachers
in the world to me.
Thank you!
My father and Willie.
Midway into Barry's career
as a Giant, his father Bobby died.
Now, on his death bed
Willie Mays visits him
and Bobby says,
"Take care of Barry for me
because you're the only guy
he listens to other than me."
And Willie said, "Okay."
And that was important
for all the turmoil and all the stuff
that Barry went through
it was Willie Mays
who he could always call
Willie Mays who was
always there for him.
There was a poignant moment
when they saluted Barry Bonds
and retired his number, formerly
at Oracle Park.
Willie was there and he got up
and said he needed to speak.
When Mr. Mays wants to speak,
he gets to speak.
So we're gonna get
Mr. Mays a microphone.
I have to go to the podium
because when I say something
I want everybody to hear it.
And this was not part of the script.
And Willie, take it away.
I don't like to do things like this
but the boy that is here today
he was like my little son.
I taught him to be a proud man
give somebody honor that deserve
to be in the Hall of Fame.
- Yes, sir!
- Yeah.
So Willie starts talking
about the Hall of Fame
and what a great thrill
it was for him
when he got that call that
he was going into the Hall of Fame.
You know, Dad sees Barry
as a kid that he helped groom
and I think
Barry sees Dad as his family.
His dad's gone, so you know,
closest thing he's got.
Let him have the honor
because I may not be here forever.
I might be gone.
I want him to have kids
and his kids that,
"That's my daddy over there."
And I want him to have that honor
be something happen to him.
What do you remember
about that speech?
Trying not to cry
'cuz it was like your father
and that's tough
'cuz he's the world to me.
And for him to stand up
for his godson like his son
that's what I was holding back.
And that's the only answer
I got for you.
'Cuz that's the same feeling
I had, the same...
and anyone who ever brings it up,
it's the same feeling.
My dad is dead
and Willie was...
is all I have, right.
So that
don't do it
that's how I felt.
On behalf of all the people
in San Francisco
and all over the country
vote this guy in.
He is very, very important to me!
Thank you very much.
And I think that was
the generosity of spirit.
That was Willie Mays.
And who could offer counsel
to Barry Bonds but Willie Mays.
Whatever the Lord did for Willie Mays
he equipped Willie Mays
to play the art of baseball.
And some people
that could hit as good as he did
and some people that could
throw as well as he threw.
On every pitch
Willie Mays was as decisive
intellectually on baseball
as any one of the coaches,
as any one of the managers.
None of them could do
what Willie Mays could do.
You had to experience it
to understand what he meant.
He was baseball
to a lot of people in an era
that was brimming
with great, great players.
I didn't think of him
as a mere ballplayer
or even as a human being
as I look back on it
but rather a superhero.
Willie Mays walks down the street
and fathers say to their sons
"There goes Willie Mays, the greatest
player to ever play this game."
We don't have time to list
all of Willie Mays' statistics
and his quiet example while excelling
on one of America's biggest stages
helped carry forward
the banner of civil rights
A few years ago, Willie rode
with me on Air Force One.
I told him then
what I'll tell all of you now
it's because of giants like Willie
that someone like me could
even think about
running for president.
Are you, Willie Mays, the
greatest baseball player of all time?
I don't do that.
- You don't do that.
- No.
Who is he? Who would be?
I don't know. That's not my job.
- Right.
- You...
If you talk about
the greatest ballplayer
I didn't do all that
to play baseball.
My dad could play baseball. I've got
a lot of guys could play baseball.
I didn't do that to...
to say I'm the best.
When I look at myself,
I think about sports, first.
So many things happened
with me on the baseball field
that I could just look back
and just replay every moment.
I never had a day where
somebody would not come up and say
"I saw you make a play, I love you
because of what you did for me,"
and it made me feel
very, very proud because
not only did I play baseball for
the people, they enjoyed what I did.
Ladies and gentlemen,
#24 Willie Mays.
Who's the catcher from the Braves
whose leg you broke?
Del Rice, good guy.
Why'd you break his leg?
He got, he got in the damn way!
What you mean why I broke his leg?
I broke it sliding home.
I told him, I said, "You better
get the hell out of the way, man."
You broke the same leg twice.
He got in the way twice.
Put the leg out there in front of me.
And I said you better
get that son of a bitch back that way
and hold it for a minute.
Yeah, he's... he was a good guy.
I didn't hit him too hard,
just a little bit.
Just hard enough
to break his leg, right?
Yeah, that was enough.
Who do you like on the team?
I... On the Giants?
- I'm a Yankee fan.
- Yeah.
I'm a Yankee fan.
- So.
- I like Mickey Mantel.
What happened to me?
Oh, you left me already?
I think you left me, brother...
Who else was out there
that could play?
Babe Ruth.
Yeah, well, fuck,
I ain't see Babe Ruth play.
What's the guy you're talking about?
I know Babe. I met Babe
over on Long Island
a couple of times, but I don't...
- You met Babe Ruth.
- Yeah.
You like Babe Ruth?
Did you like him as a person?
See, that's why I don't say nothing.
- See, you trying.
- I'm trying...
That hurt. It hurts.
Oh, my God.
Yo, that hurts.
I don't want to break his arm
'cuz he'll say I'm cheating.
You kicked my ass today, but...
Interview with the handshake
part bone, definitely bone.
- Bone.
- I told you to be nice to him
Willie, what are you doing?
I'll break that son of a bitch off.
New York Mets are proud to announce
that in accordance
with Mrs. Payson's wishes
and at the urging
of his former Mets teammates
in recognition of
his contributions to the Mets
as well as baseball
in New York and the country at large
Willie Mays, 24, will take its place
in the left field corner
here at Citi Field
with the other greats
in Mets history.