Hall of Famer and baseball legend Willie “the Say-Hey Kid” Mays was honored at the 2007 Major League Baseball All Star game on July 10, at the San Francisco Giants’ waterfront ballpark.
Before the game the 76-year-old Mays, wearing a Giants cap and jacket with his No. 24, made a ceremonial first throw from center field, his old stomping grounds. His godson Barry Bonds and Yankees captain Derek Jeter escorted Mays on the field, where he gave his jacket to Ken Griffey Jr.
Mays then got into a shiny 1958 Cadillac Eldorado that took him on a pre-game lap around the field where he threw baseballs to fans inside the park. “I would love to hit in this ballpark,” Mays told The Associate Press.
As a player with the New York Giants in 1954, Mays is remembered as making a legendary over-the-shoulder basket catch with his back to the plate and then gunning the ball home in the opening game of the World Series match against Cleveland.
After beginning his career in New York, Mays moved to San Francisco with the Giants in 1958 where he played for 15 seasons. He hit 660 homers during his career, and played in 24 All Star games. He earned first-ballot election to the Hall of Fame in 1979.
In the July 10 All Star game, the American League won 5-4, due to Ichiro Suzuki who hit the first inside-the-park home run in the history of the midseason event. Suzuki plays centerfield for the Seattle Mariners. He went 3-for-3 and was named the MVP.