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The full text of Willie Mays’ speech

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In case you missed it, here’s the 87-year old’s fantastic stump speech for Barry Bonds’ Hall of Fame admission.

MLB: Pittsburgh Pirates at San Francisco Giants D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

You can rewatch the entire ceremony here. Mays’ speech begins at the 48:30 mark.

First of all: where’s the podium at? Everybody having a day here? I have to go to the podium, because when I say something, I want everybody to hear it.

{Mays walks to podium.}

Hold on.

First of all, people think I don’t want to talk when I sit over there and keep my mouth closed. I don’t like to do things like this, but the boy that is here today... he was like my little son. I had him since he was five years old and his mother said to me, “You’ve got this kid. Take him. You take care of him while we’re here in San Francisco.”

I really didn’t understand what she was talking about until I talked to Bobby, which was her husband. I said, “Bobby, Pat is bringing up a son of yours by here and she want me to take care of him.”

“Well, do that,” he says. “Take care of that boy. I can’t feed ‘em all.” So I said, “Okay.”

But what happened... when people talk to me and they says, “Barry’s the best ballplayer in the world” — yeah. Let him have that honor. Let him have it.

I taught him to be a proud man. I taught him daily. I taught him to get education. Bobby and I. But who cares how good he would be as he came out of Serra. I didn’t know that he would be as good as he — who he is now.

Butt when they said to me, “He can hit a ball further than you,” I said, “Un-uhh. I don’t think so!” I said, “I don’t think so!”

Bobby said, “Okay, we’ll bat ten everyday.” And this guy killed me.

In Spring Training, every day we have to go to the ballpark, and Bobby says, “You’re gonna get a phone call today,” I said, “For what?” The phone rang — biiiiing — and he says, “Why you not here?” This is Barry talking now: “Why you not here?”

I said, “Barry, you hit two home runs yesterday!”

“I gotta hit another one today.”

It was like... he was my kid. He was like... I have a kid, but you can’t put two of them together. That’s one thing about life. You have to separate them.

But I am so proud of the Giants and Peter Magowan. He called me on the phone —

{crowd breaks into applause}

— Okay, go ahead. Peter should have that kind of play.

Peter didn’t know anything about Barry at the time. I did. When Bobby and I were set down many times, and Bobby said, “I do not have any money for this boy to go to school.”

Education is the most important thing and baseball comes later. And the Giants at one time, they wanted to give him $100,000. And I said, “No. No. Let him go to school. Make sure when he talks, he’s talking for his whole family.” And he did. He did very well in Arizona school. And you can tell... I’m not the smartest guy, but I could play.

But, we talk all the time. And I wish Peter would give him a statue across the little bridge over there... because he gonna brag anyway. Let him have it. Let him have the honor, because I may not be here forever. I may be gone. I want him to have kids and have his kids say, “That’s my daddy over there.” And just have it.

I know you guys don’t like it, but I do. I guess... I’m the kinda guy that... I ate when I had to eat when I was young. I was a kid that played baseball daily. I had a father that said, “I’m gonna teach you the game” and I know what Barry and Bobby had together. So, when people talk about “Who’s the best ballplayer in the world?” I don’t care.

I played my 21 years, 22 years or whatever it may be. Give somebody honor that deserve to be in the Hall of Fame.

The Hall of Fame is a type of fraternity that when you get there you’ll say, “Man, how did I get here?” and I want him to have that honor be something that happens to him. So, on behalf of all the people in San Francisco and all over the country, vote this guy in. He is very, very important to me. Thank you very much.