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SF Giants Honor Mays’ Legacy by Wearing No. 24 Teamwide

As you’re likely all aware, last week the baseball world — and world — lost its greatest living player, and arguably its greatest player ever, when Willie Mays passed away at the age of 93.

At the time of his passing, the Giants were on the road. While Mays was fittingly feted at last week’s MLB at Rickwood Field game, Monday night marked the first time the team played at home since Mays died.

Mays spent 22 seasons with the Giants, mostly in San Francisco (he played six seasons for the Giants in New York). Mays returned “home” to New York in 1972, when he was traded to the Mets. He retired after the 1973 season, which culminated in one last World Series appearance.

Mays was named an All-Star 24 times — in addition to winning two NL MVPs, 12 Gold Gloves, and a World Series title in 1954. In 1979, Mays entered the Hall of Fame on the first ballot.

As such, on Monday evening, all uniformed personnel wore Mays’ No. 24 in the game.

The Giants retired Mays’ No. 24 on Aug. 20, 1983, and no member of the Giants has worn it since. Between Mays’ last game as a Giant (May 9, 1972) and the retirement ceremony, the number was not handed out either.

With the number not worn by any Giant in more than fifty years, it must have felt somewhat eerie to see the Giants Heliot Ramos in centerfield sporting the legendary No. 24.

Of course, there were plenty of memorials and tributes for Mays throughout the ballpark.

Out where the retired numbers are, a special wreath surrounded the No. 24.

All players’ lockers were outfitted with a special “24” plate.

Mays was also honored pregame with a video tribute, with all Giants players lined up on the third baseline, all wearing No. 24.

While the Giants for a time had gone NNOB on their home cream uniforms, but added NOBs beginning with the 2021 season, last night marked the time since then (with the exception of the annual Jackie Robinson Day) the Giants went without last names on their jerseys.

Speaking of Jackie Robinson day, all players wearing the same number last night gave the game a bit of a JRR day feel. The Pirates celebrate Roberto Clemente by going NNOB and players wear No. 21. Back in 2012, the Red Sox all wore No. 6 to honor Johnny Pesky. Interestingly, when the Cleveland Guardians sought permission to all wear No. 14 to honor Larry Doby, that request was denied. I wonder if that will change going forward, especially in light of the Giants being able to all wear No. 24 last evening.

The Giants recently added a MAYS 24 memorial patch to their uniforms. In a curious move, they wore the patch last night with the No. 24 uniforms. I had wondered if they would have removed it for this particular game, but they did not.

Perhaps fittingly, with Willie looking down on them, the Giants came back from a 4-2 deficit, scoring three runs in the ninth inning to win on a walk-off walk.

RIP Say Hey kid. This one was for you.

Thanks to our own Anthony Emerson for the Pesky tribute info!

Comments (24)

    As far as I can tell, the Red Sox were the first team to do this sort of teamwide tribute — the entire team wore No. 6 when Johnny Pesky died in 2012. link

    I don’t mean to be a pain, Phil, but you have Pesky’s last name misspelled as “Peske” twice. Thanks!

    Gah! Not being a pain at all. My bad.

    Quick story: when I was very young, I thought it was called the “Penske” (like as in racing) pole. Didn’t even realize at the time Johnny Pesky was a player. By the time I understood the story of the Pesky Pole (link), my brain wanted to spell it “Peske”. That’s what happened here.

    Very cool that the Giants did this. I admire the way they honor their team history.

    If only the cream jerseys matched the cream trousers.

    Also, CF Heliot Ramos made an over the shoulder basket catch in deep center that really felt like Willie getting one more out before going to heaven.

    Why were the Guardians denied wearing 14 for Doby when the Giants were allowed to wear 24 for Mays?

    DISREGARD, I misread what you meant. Sorry!
    And I do not have a good explanation for why the Indians were denied, other than Willie Mays was the Greatest Living Baseball Player. Not to downplay Larry Doby’s significance.

    Bud Selig’s Worst Idea Ever is spreading…
    Pesky, Clemente, now Mays, and eventually Doby.

    Retired numbers should stay retired, Manfred. And if you’re going to keep letting every single player wear the same number, or if you’re going to keep allowing illegible stealth numbers on jerseys because they sell in the team store, then you don’t really understand the concept of having jersey numbers.

    No one.

    There are much better ways to honor a player than this.

    Jackie deserves better.

    Going off on a tangent here.

    I, like a lot of kids, drew logos and created whole leagues of different teams – back in the late 60s and early 70s. One rule I had was for different color schemes for each team. One team could be blue with red trim (think Rangers or Bills) and another could be red with blue trim (think Canadiens or Patriots).

    A lot of this followed NHL colors. We could have one red and black team, one yellow and black, one green and yellow, one orange and black, one blue and yellow, purple and gold, on and on.

    I was very upset when the Seals went green and gold since the North Stars had the same colors, but I felt that Minnesota was green with a little yellow and the Seals were really out there with yellow. Same with Buffalo taking the Blues’ scheme. But, again, Canucks came in with blue and green. Two years later we had the Flames and Islanders with unused color schemes. Two years later we had the Scouts with unique colors and the Capitals with a lot of stars.

    With that out of the way, it seems very quietly the Giants and the Ducks both added orange, black and gold (bronze) as a pallette to the sports landscape.

    Interesting point about the Giants and Ducks. I’m off to TruColor now to see how similar their shades of orange are. FWIW, I think the Ducks’ combo of orange, black, and gold is one of the best in sports.

    I apologize in advance if this comes off overly harsh because this is one of my strongest opinions in the uni-verse:

    This is an absolutely, unabashedly terrible idea. There are a thousand ways you can honor someone without compromising the usefulness and practicality of the uniform. Having a team full of #24s with NNOB is a disaster for the fans and probably for the umpires too – maybe even for the players, to a lesser extent.

    For anyone about to be offended on Willie Mays’ behalf, please understand I’m not trying to denigrate him in any way. But he should not be honored in what might be the stupidest possible way. Almost any other approach would be better.

    No apology needed. I’ve been saying the same thing about Jackie Robinson and Roberto Clemente.

    Absolutely a terrible idea, and it offers no insult the the great players of the past to say so. It’s a bad idea both because it denigrates the traditions and practices around number retirement and because it violates the rules of the game (Rule 3.03) and the functional purpose of players wearing numbers. If it’s OK for everyone to wear the same number, then it’s equally OK for players to wear no numbers, or to wear randomly different numbers from day to day. Yet I’ve never heard anyone who approves of stunts like this advocate for permitting teams to discard numbers or permitting players to change numbers from game to game. Understandably; either would be a terrible idea and a foolish thing to do, but there is no logically defensible standard by which stunts like this are permissible but no-number or changing-number unis are not.

    What grinds my gears is MLB allows this but has refused multiple requests from Cleveland to do the same for Larry Doby to mark the day he broke the color barrier in the AL. It’s an even worse look given Blacks now make up just six percent of MLB players and that Negro League stats are now recognized.

    I guess nobody on the Giants could truly honor the look of Willie Mays and wear stirrups?

    As nice as it was to see NNOB Giants home jerseys again, that massive gap between the collar and the top of the number is a lot bigger than it was when Willie Mays was playing. The new jersey template with the lowered batterman logo doesn’t seem to have pushed the Yankees’ numbers downward.


    Supposedly the team asked season ticket holders if they wanted NOBs, and when the fans said they didn’t, they kept asking until the respondents finally gave the answer the team wanted.

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