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#pounditSaturday, July 20, 2024

Fans at Rickwood Field give standing ovation in honor of late Willie Mays

Fans at Rickwood Field giving Willie Mays a standing ovation

The late Willie Mays got the ovation he deserved Tuesday from the fans in attendance at Rickwood Field in Birmingham, Ala.

Mays died peacefully on Tuesday at the age of 93, the San Francisco Giants announced via a post on X.

Before beginning his MLB journey, Mays famously started his career with the Birmingham Black Barons of the Negro Leagues.

Rickwood Field, where Mays played his first professional game, was holding a Double-A game when the news of the MLB legend’s death went public. Mays fittingly received a standing ovation as the stadium announcer finished his tribute for the Alabama native.

On Thursday, Mays was supposed to make an appearance at the same field for a tribute game between the Giants and St. Louis Cardinals. The event was organized in honor of Mays and the Negro Leagues.

However, Mays announced on Monday — a day before his death — that he was instead planning to enjoy the game from his San Francisco home.

“I’m not able to get to Birmingham this year but will follow the game back here in the Bay Area,” Mays said, via the Associated Press. “My heart will be with all of you who are honoring the Negro League ballplayers, who should always be remembered, including all my teammates on the Black Barons.

“I wanted to thank Major League Baseball, the Giants, the Cardinals and all the fans who’ll be at Rickwood or watching the game. It’ll be a special day, and I hope the kids will enjoy it and be inspired by it.”

Mays recorded 10 hits and 6 RBIs as a member of the Barons before being called up to the majors.

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