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Sports world pays tribute to Willie Mays

USA TODAY
                                Willie Mays takes a seat to go around the field in a 1958 Cadillac Eldorado during the Major League Baseball All-Star Game on July 8, 2007.
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USA TODAY

Willie Mays takes a seat to go around the field in a 1958 Cadillac Eldorado during the Major League Baseball All-Star Game on July 8, 2007.

The death of baseball legend Willie Mays at age 93 today prompted tributes from across the sports world.

Mays’ godson, Barry Bonds, posted on Instagram, “I am beyond devastated and overcome with emotion. (broken heart emoji) I have no words to describe what you mean to me — you helped shape me to be who I am today. Thank you for being my Godfather and always being there. Give my dad a hug for me. Rest in peace Willie, I love you forever. #SayHey”

Six-time baseball All-Star CC Sabathia, a San Francisco Bay Area native, posted on X a photo of himself with Mays, writing, “I’ll never forget this day when I walked in and heard, ‘that’s that boy who wears his hat like this.’ RIP Willie Mays. You changed the game forever and inspired kids like me to chase our dream. Thank you for everything that you did on and off the field. Always in our hearts”

Ken Griffey Jr. wrote in a statement issued by the Seattle Mariners, “I’m at a loss for words. I’m devastated. Heartbroken. Numb. I’ve been lucky enough to know Willie since I was a little kid. And my appreciation only grew over time. From the stories, the videos and then meeting him. He was a true giant off and on the field. A person I looked up to and respected. A friend. And someone I could call when I needed to talk who always had time for me, and my best interests in mind. I considered him an uncle, and, to me, he’ll always be the Godfather of all center fielders.”

Tennis legend Billie Jean King posted online, “The great Willie Mays has passed away. It was a privilege to know him. We were both honored by @MLB in 2010 with the Beacon Award, given to civil rights pioneers.

“He was such a kind soul, who gifted my brother Randy a new glove and a television during his rookie year with the @SFGiants. My deepest condolences to his family. He will be missed.”

Former Chicago White Sox slugger Frank Thomas wrote on social media, ” R.I.P to Willie Mays! There’s great players and then there’s True Legends. God Bless”

On the New York Mets’ broadcast, Keith Hernandez got choked up while discussing his encounters with Mays.

“What always came off was, he was the Say Hey Kid. He had that ebullient personality,” the former first baseman said. “Infectious and genuine. I got to tell him that he was the greatest player I ever saw.”

Ex-New York Yankees outfielder Bernie Williams posted online, “There will never be another Willie Mays. You don’t play Centerfield without thinking of Mr. Mays. We should all celebrate and salute his legacy — he transcended baseball, served our country and is a true American legend & icon.”

Basketball Hall of Famer Charles Barkley spoke on CNN regarding Mays’ upbringing in the South, “We have no idea what these guys have been through … To try to be great at a sport, and then deal with all the racial strife that these guys had to deal with, that’s what makes them heroes.”

Baseball Hall of Famer Dave Winfield wrote, ” It was my pleasure and honor to have played against arguably the best @mlb @MLBPA player of all time. And to call #WillieMays my friend is incredibly special #RIP “Say Hey” Kid”

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