San Francisco Mayor Announces 2-4-24 Is ‘Willie Mays Day’ | The 92-Year-Old MLBbro Icon Gears Up For A Big Season

San Francisco Mayor Announces 2-4-24 Is ‘Willie Mays Day’ | The 92-Year-Old MLBbro Icon Gears Up For A Big Season

Thanks to a lifelong Willie Mays fan’s attention to the numbers, the Giants are taking advantage of the numbers and celebrating their most beloved franchise icons.

 

Feb. 4, 2024, will officially be proclaimed “Willie Mays Day” by San Francisco Mayor London Breed. Of course, it’s a proper honor for the Hall of Fame MLBbro who made the No. 24 legendary during his iconic career with the Giants.

 

Willie Mays Statement On “Willie Mays Day”

 

“I am honored by Mayor Breed’s proclamation and would like to thank the City of San Francisco and the Giants for this day,” Mays, 92, said in a statement. “The game of baseball has been great to me, and not only was I given the opportunity to play, but I was also given the opportunity to help kids all around the world. To me, this day means I am loved. This is as much my day as it is for everyone who loves the Game.”

 

As part of the festivities, several San Francisco landmarks — including City Hall, the Ferry Building and Salesforce Tower — will be lit up in orange and black lights on Sunday. Oracle Park will also be illuminated, with a decorative banner hanging from the 24 palm trees in Willie Mays Plaza to commemorate the occasion.

The idea for “Willie Mays Day” first came from Adam Swig, a Giants season-ticket holder and the founder and executive director of the California nonprofit Value Culture. After realizing that a date synonymous with Mays — 2/4/24 — was approaching on the calendar, Swig reached out to Giants president and CEO Larry Baer, who began working with Breed to bring “Willie Mays Day” to life.

 

“I feel like I’m one of millions of kids that played baseball in the backyard pretending I was Willie Mays in San Francisco,” Baer said Thursday. “Being able to continue to honor him and continue to be part of the Giants family, especially this year when we’re going to Rickwood [Field], it’s really spectacular.

“To me, he will always be the greatest player ever. I think the majority of baseball fans that go back to watching him play probably feel that.”

 

The 2024 Field Of Dreams Game Will Be Played At Rickwood Field in Birmingham, Where The Negro Leagues Legend Of Willie Mays Began

 

Mays’ legacy will further be celebrated on June 20, when the Giants will face off against the Cardinals at Rickwood Field in Birmingham, Ala., the former home of the Negro Leagues’ Birmingham Black Barons, where the Say Hey Kid played as a teenager.

 

The Giants are also planning to give out 20,000 bobbleheads featuring Mays in his Black Barons uniform in honor of African American Heritage Day at Oracle Park on May 31.

 

“We can’t wait to welcome the Cardinals, the Giants, as well as the entire world to Birmingham,” Mayor Randall Woodfin said.

 

The Major League game will be prefaced with a Minor League game between the Birmingham Barons and the Montgomery Biscuits, scheduled for June 18, 2024. Renovations will began on October 23 to prepare the stadium relic for an unforgettable week.

 

“This is a seminal moment in Negro Leagues and Black baseball history to have Major League baseball come to Birmingham to Rickwood Field where so much baseball history was made,” President of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum Bob Kendrick said.

“When we literally throw this back in time, this is going to be a watershed moment for Negro Leagues history.”

Willie Mays Starred For Birmingham Baron In Negro Leagues

The Barons played in the Southern Association until 1961. The stadium also served as the home of the Birmingham Black Barons in the Negro Leagues between 1924 and 1960.

 

“We are proud to bring Major League Baseball to historic Rickwood Field in 2024,” said Commissioner of Baseball Robert D. Manfred, Jr. in a statement. “This opportunity to pay tribute to the Negro Leagues as the Giants and Cardinals play a regular season game at this iconic location is a great honor. The legacy of the Negro Leagues and its greatest living player, Willie Mays, is one of excellence and perseverance. We look forward to sharing the stories of the Negro Leagues throughout this event next year.”

 

Mays patrolled center field for the Barons at just 17 years old before making his debut in the Majors at 20 on May 25, 1951, with the New York Giants. He went on to become one of the best all-around players in the Majors. He won 12 Gold Glove Awards, hit 660 home runs, is a member of the 3,000-hit club, won a batting title, four home run titles, and four stolen base titles. He ranks among the all-time leaders in Wins Above Replacement, and he missed two full seasons during the prime of his career while serving in the military.

 

“Our National Pastime always welcomes the opportunity to celebrate the game’s greatest living player, Willie Mays,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “

 

Mays spent 21 of his 23 illustrious and groundbreaking Major League seasons with the Giants, serving as the most prominent bridge between the New York and San Francisco eras.

A two-time National League MVP, a 24-time All-Star and a 12-time Gold Glove Award winner, Mays hit .301 and ranks sixth on the all-time list with 660 career home runs and is still known as the premier defender at his position.

To celebrate the GOAT center fielder’s 90 birthday in 2021, the Giants Community Fund launched the Willie Mays Scholars program, a need-based scholarship available to Black ninth and 11th graders living in San Francisco that is currently accepting applications.

Respect the originators!

The Baseball World Unites, Raising Almost $200,000 To Replace Stolen and Damaged Jackie Robinson Statue

The Baseball World Unites, Raising Almost $200,000 To Replace Stolen and Damaged Jackie Robinson Statue

Major League Baseball and its 30 member clubs will work together to replace a statue of Jackie Robinson that was stolen from a youth baseball park in Kansas last week. Donations have also poured in from around the globe as Jackie Robinson’s 105th birthday was all the inspiration needed for this terrible situation to transform into an example of people’s true humanity.

 

Major League Baseball pledged support. And the total raised just through one online fundraiser surpassed $145,000, which is far in excess of the estimated $75,000 value of the bronze statue that was cut from its base last week.

 

Jackie Robinson Statue Stolen: $150,000 In Donations

The statue, which stood outside of McAdams Park in Wichita, was stolen last week and found on fire at a nearby park on Tuesday “dismantled and burned,” with damages in the ballpark of $75K. The Wichita Fire Department responded to the report of a trash can fire and discovered the statue ablaze.

 

Wichita police spokesperson Andrew Ford said the statue was “not salvageable.” The callous and destructive act ignited a firestorm of support for League 42 from fans, baseball clubs and concerned citizens who respect the legacy of Jackie Robinson and what he meant to this country.

 

Bob Lutz, the executive director of the League 42 youth baseball league, announced on Tuesday that Major League Baseball and its clubs would replace the statue.

 

“It will be a joyous occasion – unlike today, unlike the past five days,” Lutz said.

 

Lutz’s friend, the late John Parsons, crafted the statue.

 

“Fortunately, the mold from his work is still viable, and the statue that reappears at McAdams Park will be the work of John Parsons,” he said. “In a matter of months, that will be erected at McAdams Park, and we’re looking forward to that day … It’ll be a joyous occasion, unlike today, unlike the past five days. We’re ready for some joy, you know. We’re ready for some happiness, and we’re going to pursue that in the best way we can.”

 

There were people throughout the baseball community that felt the police weren’t acting quick enough to find the statue and the perpetrators, but Lutz commended the police for the resources they have put into investigating the crime.

 

“It’s a sad thing that this happened in our community, but I think the way our community is reacting to it could not be better, so we’re going to move forward here and not look back,” he said.

What Is League 42?

League 42 was founded in 2013 and is a league for baseball players ages 5-14 from urban areas around Wichita, according to MLB.com. The league serves nearly 600 youth players on 46 different teams.

 

The statue outside of McAdams Park will be present once again in the near future and will stand as a reference to young players of the impact that Robinson made on and off the field.

 

Police are still investigating the theft, the arson and looking for the culprits.
Stolen Jackie Robinson Statue Found “Dismantled and Burned” With $75K Worth Of Damage

Stolen Jackie Robinson Statue Found “Dismantled and Burned” With $75K Worth Of Damage

League 42 has announced that its stolen Jackie Robinson statue has been found seriously damaged. The statue, stolen last Wednesday night from the league located at McAdams Park at 17th Street North and Ohio, was found at Garvey Park in south Wichita, “dismantled and burned.” 

 

 

Police reports say the Wichita Fire Department got a call around 8:30am Tuesday morning of a trash can fire at Garvey Park. The fire department put the fire out and found what appeared to be remnants of the Jackie Robinson statue. 

Statue Suffers $75K In Damages 

The Wichita Police Department said the statue is unsalvageable. The statue weighs hundreds of pounds, so damages are estimated at $75,000, according to the City.

“This was a heartbreaking discovery this morning,” Wichita City Council Member Brandon Johnson said. “I hate to see that the statue was not in one piece, but I do want everyone to know that we are undeterred in making sure that that statue gets rebuilt and put back there for our community, for League 42, for the young people. That symbol of hope will only be gone for a short time.”

Now that the statue has been recovered and the worst revealed, Johnson also stressed how important it is to now start the fundraising efforts for a replacement statue. 

“This now lets us know that we need a new statue,” Johnson said. “We’re no longer looking for a complete, intact statue. We know now we need to raise money to replace it, and we will do so.”

He asked people to donate to the fund that League 42 has started. Click here for the GoFundMe site.

“Obviously, this is not the result we wanted, but it is a result, and now we can move on,” Bob Lutz, League 42 founder, said. “We know what’s ahead of us. We know we’re going to incorporate a brand-new statue that looks exactly like the old one.”

 

The Late John Parsons Crafted The Statue

Lutz’s friend, the late John Parsons, crafted the statue.

“Fortunately, the mold from his work is still viable, and the statue that reappears at McAdams Park will be the work of John Parsons,” he said. “In a matter of months, that will be erected at McAdams Park, and we’re looking forward to that day … It’ll be a joyous occasion, unlike today, unlike the past five days. We’re ready for some joy, you know. We’re ready for some happiness, and we’re going to pursue that in the best way we can.”

There were people throughout the baseball community that felt the police weren’t acting quick enough to find the statue and the perpetrators, but Lutz commended the police for the resources they have put into investigating the crime.

“It’s a sad thing that this happened in our community, but I think the way our community is reacting to it could not be better, so we’re going to move forward here and not look back,” he said.

 

Wichita Police Still Searching For Jackie Robinson Statue Thieves 

Wichita Police Chief Joe Sullivan said police are determined to catch the thieves.

“It’s disheartening to see the remnants of the statue, the disgraceful way in which it’s been disrespected,” he said. “But the other side of that is, this is a direct indication of the pressure our investigators are putting on the perpetrators that committed this act.”

 “It would be in your best interest to simply turn yourself in, come forward, admit your part in this, and I’m confident that the DA will consider that. But, either way, we will be arresting several people for what they’ve done to our community.”

Police released surveillance photos and video after the theft. The WPD says investigators with the Property Crimes Bureau worked all weekend, following up on leads. They also got help from the WPD Field Community Response Team.

 

Truck used in Jackie Robinson theft

 

On Monday afternoon, the WPD announced that investigators were able to find and recover the truck they believe was used in the crime. Police would not comment on whether the owner of the truck is a suspect.

MVP Award Winners Ronald Acuna Jr. and Shohei Ohtani Win 2023 Hank Aaron Award

MVP Award Winners Ronald Acuna Jr. and Shohei Ohtani Win 2023 Hank Aaron Award

National League Most Valuable Player Ronald Acuña Jr. of the Atlanta Braves and American League Most Valuable Player Shohei Ohtani, who won the honor for a second time while playing with the Los Angeles Angels, have been named the recipients of the 2023 Hank Aaron Award in their respective leagues, Major League Baseball announced today.

Following a historic season, Acuña joins Andruw Jones and former teammate Freddie Freeman as Braves to win the award named after franchise icon Hank Aaron who hit 755 career homers.

Two-Way superstar Ohtani joins former teammate Mike Trout as Angels to receive the prestigious honor.

The winners were unveiled on December 16 in Las Vegas, Nevada on MLB Network’s “All-MLB Team Show” presented by MGM Rewards during a presentation featuring Acuña Jr., Mrs. Billye Aaron and Commissioner of Baseball Robert D. Manfred, Jr.

 

What Is Hank Aaron Award? 

The Hank Aaron Awards recognize the most outstanding offensive performers in each League.  Each Club nominates players to be considered for the Hank Aaron Award, and a panel of MLB.com writers determined nine finalists for each league from the list of Club nominees.

A fan vote is added to the votes of a special panel of Hall of Fame players and former winners to determine the winners of the award, which is officially sanctioned by Major League Baseball.

The panel includes Hall of Famers Johnny Bench, Craig Biggio, Ken Griffey Jr., Derek Jeter (two-time Aaron Award winner), Chipper Jones, Pedro Martínez, Eddie MurrayDavid Ortiz (two-time Aaron Award winner), John Smoltz and Robin Yount, as well as two-time Aaron Award recipient Albert Pujols.

Ronald Acuna Was A Video Game In 2023

Acuña, in his sixth Major League season, made history in 2023, becoming the first player in Baseball history to record at least 40 home runs and 70 stolen bases in a single season while setting modern-era franchise marks with 149 runs scored, 73 stolen bases and 383 total bases.  En route to his 40/70 season, he became only the fifth player in history to reach at least 40 homers and 40 stolen bases in the same season.

The 25-year-old native of La Guaira, Venezuela established career-highs in nearly every offensive category, including batting average (.337), on-base percentage (.416), OPS (1.012), runs, hits (217), doubles (35), RBI (106), stolen bases, walks (80) and total bases.

 

 

The four-time All-Star became one of seven players in Major League history to collect at least 200 hits, 100 RBI, 145 runs scored and 40 home runs in a single season, joining an impressive list comprised of Hall of Famers Joe DiMaggio, Jimmie Foxx, Lou Gehrig, Chuck Klein, Babe Ruth and Hack Wilson.  Acuña Jr. registered 12 contests with a home run and a stolen base, tying for the second-most in a single season behind only Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson (13 in 1986).

The 2018 Jackie Robinson NL Rookie of the Year Award winner, who led all NL players in fan voting for the All-Star Game for a third straight season, joined Hall of Famers Willie Mays (1957-58) and Henderson (1990) to lead their league in both stolen bases and OPS.

Braves Superstar Ronald Acuna Jr. Joins MLBbros Rickey Henderson, Eric Davis and Kenny Lofton In Rare Feat | He’s Taking It To Next Levels Too

 

Ohtani, also in his sixth Major League season, slugged 44 home runs and registered 95 RBI en route to his second MVP award in three seasons, as well as his third consecutive Edgar Martinez Outstanding Designated Hitter Award.

The 29-year-old native of Oshu, Japan also hit .304 with 102 runs scored, 26 doubles, eight triples and 20 stolen bases while leading the AL in on-base percentage (.412), slugging percentage (.654) and OPS (1.066).

Ohtani also paced the AL in homers, total bases (325) and extra-base hits (78).  In June, Ohtani joined Babe Ruth (seven games in 1921) and Barry Bonds (six games in 1997) as the only players in Major League history to record an extra-base hit, walk and run scored in six straight games (June 12th-17th).

For a third straight season, the 2018 Jackie Robinson AL Rookie of the Year Award winner became the only player in the Majors to post at least six triples and 34 home runs.  In addition, Ohtani joined Troy Glaus (47 homers in 2000) as the only Angels players in history to finish a season as the AL home run leader.

 

The two-way star, who was selected to the All-Star Game as both a pitcher and position player for a third consecutive season after finishing as the AL’s leading vote-getter, hit .372 with three doubles, two triples, seven homers and 15 RBI in his 23 games as a starting pitcher.

Together, Acuña and Ohtani became the first duo to win their respective league’s MVP Award in the same season after also winning the Jackie Robinson Rookie of the Year Award in the same season (2018).  Overall, they were the seventh pair of MVP Award winners in a season to have previously won Rookie of the Year at any point.

Past Hank Aaron Award Winners

Aaron Judge and Paul Goldschmidt (2022); Vladmir Guerrero Jr. and Bryce Harper (2021); José Abreu and Freddie Freeman (2020); Mike Trout and Christian Yelich (2019); J.D. Martinez and Christian Yelich (2018); Giancarlo Stanton and Jose Altuve (2017); Kris Bryant and David Ortiz (2016); Josh Donaldson and Bryce Harper (2015); Giancarlo Stanton and Mike Trout (2014); Miguel Cabrera and Paul Goldschmidt (2013); Miguel Cabrera and Buster Posey (2012); José Bautista and Matt Kemp (2011); José Bautista and Joey Votto (2010); Derek Jeter and Albert Pujols (2009); Aramis Ramirez and Kevin Youkilis (2008); Alex Rodriguez and Prince Fielder (2007); Derek Jeter and Ryan Howard (2006); David Ortiz and Andruw Jones (2005); Manny Ramirez and Barry Bonds (2004); Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols (2003); Alex Rodriguez and Barry Bonds (2001-02); Carlos Delgado and Todd Helton (2000) and Manny Ramirez and Sammy Sosa (1999).

Erasing The Past, Burying Inspiration | Florida Counties Remove Hank Aaron & Roberto Clemente Books From School Libraries

 

The Hank Aaron Award was introduced in 1999 to honor the 25th Anniversary of Aaron breaking Babe Ruth’s all-time home run record, and, at that time, was the first major award introduced by Major League Baseball in more than 25 years.

Righty Joe Ross Is Back In Business With Milwaukee Brewers | Two Tommy John Surgeries Can’t Knock His Hustle

Righty Joe Ross Is Back In Business With Milwaukee Brewers | Two Tommy John Surgeries Can’t Knock His Hustle

Joe Ross is back in business with the Milwaukee Brewers after finalizing a one-year deal on Tuesday following an exhaustive physical exam to test the health of his twice-surgically repaired right elbow.

Ross, 30, underwent Tommy John surgery in 2017 and again in June 2022 before returning to pitch in the San Francisco farm system late last season.

In between roadblocks he’s been a versatile arm with the ability to perform as a starter or middle reliever. He really stood out in 2021 at 28-years-old as the Nationals braced for the departure of arm to replace legend Max Scherzer, who was on his way out of the door.

 

 

The one-year, “Show Me” deal with no options will earn Ross $1.75 million.

 

The Brew Crew reportedly views Ross as a viable candidate to join the starting rotation. In any event, he’s an innings eater and every contending team needs such a role player.

 

 

 

 

He elected not to play during the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, then returned in ‘21 and was 5-9 with a 4.17 ERA in 20 games (19 starts), last appearing on Aug. 10 of that season in relief at the Mets.

Ross has been a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde as far as performance is concerned. He’s had flashes of brilliance and he’s never been able to get in a consistent groove for one reason or another. Reaching your maximum performance on the field is hard enough.

Dealing with two major arm surgeries, rehab AND trying to come back and solidify a place in MLB is the ultimate challenge for an athlete.

Joe Ross Can’t Control His Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde Mound Identity Crisis

After Ross’ second elbow reconstruction he signed a Minor League deal with the San Francisco Giants for 2023 and worked through the system, ending the season in Triple-A Sacramento. There’s another melanated mound marauder in the building and he’s looking to stay healthy and keep throwing heat.