Willie Mays

Mays won't attend Giants-Cardinals game honoring him at Rickwood Field

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Giants legend Willie Mays won't be in attendance this Thursday when San Francisco faces the St. Louis Cardinals in a historic game at Rickwood Field.

Mays, 93, will enjoy the game back in the Bay Area rather than travel to Birmingham, Ala., where the Giants and Cardinals will play at the oldest professional ballpark in America. Rickwood Field is the former home of the Birmingham Black Barons, who Mays played for in the Negro Leagues from 1948 to 1950.

In a statement released by the Giants, Mays expressed remorse over missing the game, reflected on his memories of Rickwood Field and ended with an emphatic statement: "All these years and it is still here. So am I. How about that?"

The two MLB teams will wear Negro League throwback jerseys for Thursday's historic game, with the Giants paying tribute to the San Francisco Sea Lions and the Cardinals wearing the uniform of the St. Louis Stars. Additionally, there will be a a Tuesday minor-league game between the Birmingham Barons and Montgomery Biscuits, where the Barons will represent the Black Barons and the Biscuits will suit up as the Montgomery Gray Sox.

Back home in the Bay, Mays will watch the game with a group of friends, including former Giants clubhouse manager Mike Murphy, per the San Francisco Chronicle.

"If he’s not going, I’m not going,” Murphy told the San Francisco Chronicle. “I’ll spend the day with Willie.”

And even though Mays won't be at Rickwood Field this week, the living legend will be honored there through a variety of means, including a mural in downtown Birmingham.

What better place to recognize Mays as one of the best, if not the lone greatest, baseball player of all time than where it all started for the Say Hey Kid?

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