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HomeSportMays' last dance in New York comes from 73 Mets

Mays' last dance in New York comes from 73 Mets

7:29 PM UTC

In honor of the 50th anniversary of the Mets winning the National League pennant in 1973, we look back at several notable roster players.

New York- —May 11, 1972 A lot of excitement happened at Shea Stadium. Not only was the Mets No. 1 that day, but they made news by acquiring Willie Mays from the Giants in exchange for right-hander Charlie Williams and $50,000.

This is Mace in New York. He was king of the Big Apple for seven years when the Giants played at the polo fields in the 1950s. Mays has millions of fans in the tri-state area, but no one is bigger than Mets primary owner Joan Payson.

Payson is a minority shareholder of the Giants. After moving to San Francisco in 1958, she sold her stake in the team. When she became Mets owner in 1962, Payson vowed to bring Mays back to New York before his games were over. She did it on that May Day. The Giants wanted a pay cut, and Mays, one of the highest paid players in baseball at $165,000 a year, made him a casualty.

After learning of the deal, Mays didn’t want to Plays for the Metropolis and plans to retire. Payson, however, offered him a deal he couldn’t refuse.

“She said, ‘Write your own contract,’ and I said , ‘Wow, I found her now. So I said, ‘I, Willie Mays, want to do what I want, when I want, whenever I want.’ And she said, ‘This is you Want it? [I said], “Yes, ma’am. “[She said], ‘You get it,'” Mayes recalled in the HBO documentary “Say Hey, Willie Mays.”

Mays was 41 when he joined the Mets Past his prime. Gone are the power numbers and high batting averages. Mays was hampered by a left knee injury during his two-year stint with the Mets. But for his teammates, Mays was an important addition to the team despite hitting . 238 with 14 home runs and 44 RBIs in 135 games.

Mays takes care of everyone on the team. If the team went out to dinner and lefty Jon Matlak was pitching the next day, Mays would tell him, “Go home and sleep. You’re pitching tomorrow.”

“He’s been a great addition to us, not because of his game, but inspiring , he helped all the players at the club … and tried to improve their game and they did,” said Ed Krampl, Metz’s closest friend on the team. “His presence is a great asset to the club.”

Mays and the Mets made the playoffs in 1973, with Mays enjoying great success in October. In the National League Championship Series pennant tiebreaker against the Reds, Mays came on as Crampel’s backup hitter in the fifth and hit an infield single that gave New York 4- 2 lead. The Mets eventually won the game 7-2 to advance to the World Series.

“When his knee was not swollen and filled with fluid, even At his age, you saw the real Willie Mays, too,” said left fielder Clayne Jones. “You saw Willie Mays at 25 and 26. He could run the bases and hit the outfield. There were a few times he wasn’t supposed to play [because of bad knees], but he was a team player.”

Top half of 12th inning against Athletics in World Series Game 2 With the score tied at 6, Mays singled out Rollie Fingers, who left the field in the middle, allowing Bud Harrelson to bat and giving New York a 7-6 lead. It was the final blow of Mays’ career.

Earlier in that game, Mays was at the Oakland Coliseum There is a problem with the position. The sun in his eyes doesn’t help him, but even when he wears dark glasses, he has problems.

Questions started late in the ninth, Mets 6- 4 leads. Deron Johnson took the lead and hit the ball to the left midfield. It looked like Mace had a bead on the ball, but he slipped as the ball passed him, creating a double. Oakland quickly tied the score on Gene Turners’ single.

Mets lead 10-6 after half of 12 innings , Metz’s problems in the outfield surfaced again. Reggie Jackson took the lead and hit the ball to the left midfield. Mays couldn’t see the ball and it bounced off the wall for a three-pointer. Jackson later scored the final point of the game with a Jesus Alu single.

For most people watching the game that day, they thought May His age and his unstable left knee gave him away, but he wasn’t the only player with problems with the Suns. Jones and A’s left fielder Joe Rudy also had issues.

“The sun was horrible then. You can’t do anything about it,” Kranepool explain. “It’s not about age or anything else. When the ball is in the middle of the sun and it’s bright enough, glasses don’t help anybody, whether you’re 20 or 40. If you can’t see the ball, you can’t catch it It. Anything Willie gets close to, he grabs. It’s just that the ball gets in the way.”

Jones remembers looking for better sunglasses to block the sun, but nothing beats what he already has.

“We have nothing, we know nothing about the sun, Nobody talks about it either,” Jones said. “People look at [his age], but I don’t think it’s a disparagement of Willie Mays.”

The Mets lost to Oakland in a seven-game fall elite game, ending Mays’ career. He already announced in September that he would retire at the end of the season and officially hung up his cleats after Game 2 of the still-running World Series. But his teammates want him to continue his career.

“I think he has a lot left. He’s 42,” Jones said. Years old, but he’s still the best player in our squad. “We know everyone has to retire at some point, but I think he can play forever. He’s part of baseball — his style of baseball, what he brings to baseball. Other than Babe Ruth, I can’t think of anyone who contributed more to the game than Willie. Willie is without a doubt the greatest player of my life. That doesn’t take anything away from Hank or anyone else. “



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