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You Can “Keep” Baseball Now, Then Memories Of Willie’s First Game As A Mets’ Player

April 2, 2021

Yesterday was opening day in baseball and I now realize they have again worsened the once great game, by putting the first batter on second base in extra innings.

Once, on May 14, 1972, “my” Lakers and Bruins had “titled” and Willie Mays, yesterday 5 weeks from his 90th birthday, was playing his first game as a member of the Mets.

I believe “King Kong” Kiner had him in center, the great Lindsey Nelson detailed correctly regarding first baseman, Willie Mays.

The Mets’ team trainer at the time, Tom McKenna had been in the same position, with Willie at Minneapolis of Triple A baseball, 21 years earlier in fateful 1951.

Mays hitting .477, the Giants slumping and McKenna went to the Sioux City, Iowa (I think) movie place, to tell Willie, he was headed to the big leagues.

In the first frame that May Mother’s Day, leadoff man, first sacker, (big ovation), bottom 1, Willie walked vs Sam McDowell.

That bottom 1, 3 walks, 3 strikeouts and in between a grand slam homer by Daniel “Rusty” Staub.

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