Finally, Willie Mays was seated where everyone, for decades, knew he'd wind up: In Cooperstown, N.Y., on the Baseball Hall of Fame's library porch, about to be inducted.
This, after playing in 24 All-Star games, hitting 660 home runs--third all-time behind Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth--and playing the game with a flair and flash that delighted baseball followers for two decades.
Some in the crowd of 5,000 yelled out "Say, hey!" greetings when Commissioner Bowie Kuhn introduced him.
When Mays spoke, it was a bittersweet look back at his career, and he began with a rip at management of his old team, the San Francisco Giants. Seems the Giants wouldn't send a uniform with No. 24 on the back, as the Hall of Fame had requested.
Instead, Mays was inducted with his uniform from the New York Mets, the team he'd played for in his last 1 1/2 seasons.
"I am deeply upset the San Francisco Giants didn't send a uniform to give you," Mays said. "After 18 years they didn't see fit. I gave my life to baseball. I say this to you not with hate. Forgiveness is everywhere."
Present was Mays' first manager, Leo Durocher, 74, who talked about the memorable catch Mays made in the 1954 World Series off a drive by Vic Wertz.
"Willie made a lot of catches in his career like that," Durocher said. "I don't think I taught him a thing. He taught me."
Also on this date: In 1932, at the Los Angeles Summer Olympics, Americans Bill Carr and Ben Eastman hooked up in the most anticipated running event of the Games, the 400 meters. Carr surged in the stretch to beat Eastman in 46.2 seconds, a world record. . . . In 1921, Pittsburgh radio station KDKA aired the first broadcast of a major league baseball game. . . . In 1969, Willie Stargell of the Pittsburgh Pirates became the first batter to hit a ball out of Dodger Stadium. His home run cleared the right-field pavilion roof and traveled 506 feet. . . . In 1901, American League President Ban Johnson lived up to his name when he banned Baltimore Oriole Burt Hart for life, after Hart punched an umpire during a fight.