Our 2012 Topps Willie Mays Treasure

The other day, after donating a pint of blood at the Irwin Center, one of their volunteers took a picture of me holding the newest member of my pantheon of baseball card treasures. Shown in greater detail below, this 2012 Topps Willie Mays Retired Rings card was in one of the six jumbo packs I purchased on Super Bowl Sunday. Only 736 of  these beautiful Mays cards were released, so I consider myself very lucky to have one.

Willie Mays was the best, all around baseball player I ever saw. Some older folks may say for them it was Joe DiMaggio, while some younger ones may select Barry Bonds. How about you, Troy? Who’s your man? For me, at the tender age of sixty (how did that happen?), it’s Willie Mays. Period. In my time, no player comes close to him for five-tool, all round excellence.

Here’s my favorite off-field memory of him. In 1989, my sister Nancy, well-known in this blog for her love of baseball “outfits,” her six-year old son Matt and I were on a San Francisco to New York City flight, bound for a long weekend at the family home, where the triumphant event would be Dad’s 70th Birthday party. We were all strapped into our seats when who should walk past us but Willie Mays and Reggie Jackson. I instantly turned to my young nephew, who had already discovered the San Francisco Giants, and told him, motioning to the Say Hey kid, “that man is the best baseball player I ever saw.”

The two Hall of Famers sat in the last row. After a short time, a brave woman made her way to the back of the plane, tentatively approached them and emerged several minutes later with two autographs. Several others followed. At some point Nancy decided to join the queue, which ultimately got so long I was surprised the plane kept its balance, with all that weight shifted towards its tail section. I’m sure she thoughtfully considered what she was going to ask the players to sign, which explains how Dad’s birthday card was signed by Nancy, Matt, Michael, Willie Mays and Reggie Jackson that year.

When the plane landed and the passengers disembarked, we quickly told him about the special passengers. When Mays exited the tunnel and stepped into the terminal, Dad’s reaction was instantaneous. The old New York Giants fan in him took over, resulting in a spirited “SAY HEY” shouted at the top of his lungs.

I see a lot of people are already putting their copies of this card up for sale on Ebay. Not me. This card is for Dad and me. Since Dad is no longer around, I’ll have to enjoy it enough for the both of us. I think I’m up to that. Say Hey, everybody!

*****          *****          *****          *****          *****          *****          *****          *****

Comments

12 Comments on "Our 2012 Topps Willie Mays Treasure"

  1. Nancy Medbery says:

    Yup, I went to get the autographs because I was way cuter than brother Michael. The two all-stars did not mind the attention at all, as I recall. It was a real happening and a true story to boot. It was thrilling for me to meet the two stars and I remember it well. Glad you are hanging on to that card, Michael.

  2. Gary says:

    Nice card I remember when the Giants came into Shea it was an event and that lineup wow! Though Willie came to the Mets way to late there were flashes of his greatness.

    • Grubby Glove says:

      Thank you for your comment, Gary. I remember seeing Willie Mays a lot when I was young. Dad always had time to see the Giants! How lucky were Giants fans back then to see Willie Mays every day!

  3. Steven Myers says:

    “that man is the best baseball player I ever saw.”
    that has to be the greatest thing for a kid to hear.
    once again, you’re bringing baseball back to something really tangible.
    Thanks Michael.

    • Grubby Glove says:

      Steven, thank you for your kind sentiments. What a dazzling experience that was. You know, I never thought of the impact that experience had on my nephew. Leave it to my friend the poet to enable me to see an old event in my life in a new way.

  4. letsgosacto64 says:

    You got me beat, Michael. I’m too young to remember Mays, but I was fortunate enough to see McCovey play quite a bit. Willie Mac is the reason I fell in love with baseball (and the Giants). As a kid, I took for granted that I was watching a living legend. He was just “one of the guys” to me then. I had a chance to meet Willie Mac years after his playing days were over when I hosted a comedy event at the Punchline Comedy Club in Sacramento. Willie was there to promote his golf classic, and I will never forget meeting him in person and talking to him about baseball, golf and life.

  5. Barry says:

    Willie was the greatest player I have ever seen as well, and the only player in the history of baseball to be traded for “Mr.48XL” Charlie Williams.

  6. Michael,

    Willie Mays was from my “era” too!He is still my favorite!
    How could I forget “The Best Baseball player,ever”?

    • Grubby Glove says:

      We can’t Dee. They come along once a generation.

      Even after almost twenty-five years, this incident still brings a smile, and a tear, to my eye.
      For once, just once, I saw who my Dad REALLY rooted for – The Giants. The NEW YORK Giants.

      Thanks for your response.

      Kindest Regards,
      Michael / Grubby Glove


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