FEATURE: Earthquakes Receive Invite from Baseball Legend Willie Mays

Willie Mays - Quakes - Soccerl Ball - 2016

The San Jose Earthquakes received an invitation to visit the home of baseball hall of famer Willie Mays on Friday, Nov. 4. As Mays is one of the most decorated players in Major League Baseball history and a Bay Area legend, the meeting was an exciting opportunity for the Quakes.

During his professional career, Mays hit 660 home runs and currently ranks fifth all-time in Major League Baseball history for home runs, despite retiring more than 40 years ago in 1973. He joined the Giants in 1951 where he achieved a legendary status with the franchise. After he left the team in 1972 in a trade with the New York Mets, the Giants retired the No. 24 jersey in honor of his tenure with the team. Mays was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979 during his first year of eligibility. 

While the Quakes visited the Mays residence, the former baseball player took quite a liking to an Earthquakes coat and was soon seen sporting the jacket, which the Quakes then gifted to the former center fielder. 

The invitation to his home came in part of an equipment donation that the Earthquakes gave to Mays’ Say Hey Foundation. The Say Hey Foundation, Inc., named after Mays’ nickname “The Say Hey Kid,” works to achieve Mays’ dream of giving every child a chance by offering underprivileged youth positive opportunities and safer communities.

In collaboration with the Say Hey Foundation and Dr. Harcharan S. Gill, M.D., FRCS, FACS, the Earthquakes donated more than 100 youth sized jerseys and 10 soccer balls that Dr. Gill will take on his annual trip to Kenya this month. 

A professor at the Stanford School of Medicine, Dr. Gill graduated from the University of Nairobi’s College of Health Sciences in 1977. During his trip, Dr. Gill will give the equipment to children between 5-13 years old that study at rural elementary schools and have limited resources for sports equipment.

Throughout the years, the Say Hey Foundation has contributed to many causes, such as providing an elementary school in Harlem with instruments for their music program, giving to organizations that provide scholarships to minority or disadvantaged students and supporting organizations that assist homeless shelters and hospitals.  The Say Hey Foundation has also provided baseball equipment to teams and supported a clinic for children with diabetes.