Honoring Willie Mays

 Greg  Merkel, Lea and Gary Symons
Story and photos by Pat Krause
Story and photos by Pat Krause

75 lucky people got to see Willie Mays, Considered one of Baseball’s greatest players. Tommy Bahama Restaurant and store hosted this once in a lifetime event. When I say 75 lucky people its because it was limited to that amount of tickets sold. This was a private meet and Greet. Each guest was treated to buffet supper and drinks, and an autographed baseball by Willie Mays. Each person got his or her photo taken with Mr. Mays. A packet with a Tommy BahamaT-shirt and a Baseball Cap was handed each guest as they left.

There were no interviews, but the was a Q&A moderated by Baseball radio personality, Marty Lurie. Mr. Lurie is well versed in the life of Willie Mays. Lurie asked Willie Mays about his life as a youngster and how he got into baseball. It was fun to see Mays and Lurie banter back and forth. Mr. Mays has a great sense of humor and even teased his interviewer on occasion. As a teenager in MN when he started playing baseball, he was hitting a record 477. He was then asked to go to New York where his batting average fell greatly. He was placed in Center Field, and one of his throws in 1951 is still talked about as one of the greatest in baseball history.

Another well-known baseball player is local Steve Garvey. Mr. Garvey came with his son to greet Mr. Mays. Garvey posed for photos also with fans. Some of the guests were real baseball fans as they wore caps, jackets and T-Shirts from teams that Mr. Mays played in over the long and legendary career.