When I was a kid in New York City, I doubt a week went by when I didn't hear about the supreme glories of Willie Mays. My father, who viewed the Giants' transcontinental renunciation of his home town as an historic catastrophe roughly equivalent to the Black Death, never stopped rerunning in his mind's eye the Best of Willie -- running, catching, slugging, throwing and grinning. As the years passed, Mays for him became a symbol of better times and greater value -- when everybody liked Ike and you could catch a double-feature (plus cartoons and a newsreel) for 50 cents. And when the acronym DH stood only for "double header."
Today is Willie Mays' 80th birthday. Which seems to me pretty young for a guy who has been around my entire life, and whom some part of me thinks is immortal.
At 6:45 p.m. tonight, before the Giants game at AT&T Park, a televised celebration will ensue. But before then, the web's got a double-header's worth of memories to connect you with the man who once said, when asked to rate the many of his physics-defying grabs off an opposing player's bat, "I don't compare 'em, I just catch 'em."
- John Shea: Willie Mays thriving as 80th birthday nears (SF Chronicle)
- Glenn Dickey: San Francisco’s Say Hey Kid Willie Mays turns 80 (SF Examiner)
- Happy Birthday, Willie Mays (San Jose Mercury News)
- Say Hey Kid: A Tribute to Willie Mays (SF Giants) - features, photo galleries, and video
- Photos: Willie Mays and the children of the Bay Area (The Poop)
- Photos: 24 Days of Mays (CSN Bay Area)
- Photos: Slide show (San Jose Mercury News)
- Video: Willie Mays Buys A House in Sherwood Forest (KPIX, 1957, San Francisco Bay Area Television Archive)
- Hall of Fame induction speech
- Baseball Hall of Fame search: Willie Mays
- Where does he rank among all-time greats? (Bleacher Report)
- Legends: Willie Mays (CSN Bay Area)
- Remembrance of Mays (Joe Blogs)
- Interview with biographer James S. Hirsch (The Root)
On Charlie Rose: