Lingo: Willie Mays steals the show at Rawlings Gold Glove Awards ceremony

From SABR member Will Lingo at Baseball America on November 9, 2013:

NEW YORK–Current and up-and-coming major league stars like Manny Machado and Andrelton Simmons took home most of the hardware at the Rawlings Gold Glove Awards ceremony on Friday night, but it was Hall of Famer Willie Mays who stole the show.

Mays received a lifetime achievement award from Rawlings and presented this year’s center field winners their Gold Glove Awards, and he drew at least four separate standing ovations throughout the evening.

Once a reluctant public figure in his post-playing days, Mays, 82, has opened up in recent years. He cooperated with a biographer for the first time ever for the 2010 release, “Willie Mays: The Life, The Legend,” and on the stage at The Plaza in Manhattan he spoke at length about his career, remembering fondly both New York and San Francisco.

“I wish I could get two of these awards; one for the people of New York and one for the people of San Francisco,” Mays said. “When I came here I was a 20-year-old from Birmingham, and the people here never made me feel anything but welcome. And then the same thing happened when we moved to California.”

Mays joked that he could go on all night before ending his remarks for his own award. Perhaps sensing that the crowd wanted more, when he came out to present the Gold Gloves to Adam Jones and Carlos Gomez, he spoke more about his career and playfully chatted with the current major leaguers. While other award winners had simply come up on stage and accepted their hardware, Mays put Jones and Gomez on the spot and asked them to say a few words. Both acquitted themselves well.

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Originally published: November 11, 2013. Last Updated: November 11, 2013.