A day with Willie Mays

Posted by Press Democrat correspondent Dewey Forget:
How nice to see Willie Mays in the area. I come from the era in which most everyone thought Mays or Hank Aaron were the two best baseball players on the planet. I was squarely in the Mays corner.
I had an opportunity to meet Mays at his Hillsborough home a few years ago. I was there with a memorabilia company that was putting together a campaign with him. After a short while, it became apparent Willie wasn’t buying the “deal.” He said the plan was too complicated. He simply wanted to go to card shows, sign a few cards and get paid. No frills, no complexities.
So, after that revelation, I quickly shifted gears to his career. Willie immediately felt comfortable. We spent the next two or three hours talking baseball. It was a day I will not forget.
What I recall vividly is the joy Willie expressed about the game. He once said he would play for free. I don’t know if that’s true, but I do know he played baseball for 20-plus years at a level few other players have achieved. And, he did it with a respect and love for the sport that transcended his performance on the field.
Thanks, Willie, for the moments you gave us on the diamond and thanks for that afternoon.