It's Willie Mays' 85th birthday. He probably doesn't want the same present I ask for every birthday, which is a time machine to go back in time to watch Willie Mays play baseball, but hopefully he gets whatever he wants and has a happy, happy birthday.
There are different ways to celebrate. You can read a comic book about his life. You can revisit last November, when Mays was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom. You can remember how in addition to being one of the greatest baseball players ever to live, if not the greatest, he helped A Charlie Brown Christmas get made. You can go ask yourself which game of his you would watch if you had the chance. You can remember the time he toted a very fluffy doggie around AT&T Park.
Me? I'm a gonna binge on Willie Mays videos. You can start with this 1967 documentary with amazing footage.
Maybe move on to Mays on Merv Griffin, with Merv and Tallulah Bankhead speaking ill of Candlestick Park:
Or you can watch the first episode of Home Run Derby in history. I used to stay up until 2:00 in the morning just to watch these in college, always hoping it was a Willie Mays episode.
Or you can watch something a little more recent, the Sportscentury featuring Mays:
Who puts Don Sutton as the thumbnail for that, why I oughta ...
Anyway, happy birthday to one of the greatest players ever. I've been reading chapters of this book on and off for the last month, and it still stuns me that San Francisco was so hard on Mays at first. Hopefully, we've all made it up to him since then. We weren't worthy.
Happy 85th birthday, Willie Mays!