A street in Harlem, New York now bears the name of Willie Mays, one of the most legendary baseball players of all time.
Willie Mays Drive, located at the northeast corner of 155th street and Harlem River Drive in Manhattan, was dedicated to the Giants great on Friday, ABC7 reports. Officials unveiled a street sign just a short distance away from the Polo Grounds, where Mays began his legendary career with the Giants sixty years ago. The baseball great also lived in the neighborhood and retired from the New York Mets in 1973.
Michael Mays, the legend’s son, accepted a proclamation from the New York State Assembly during the ceremony. Officials also celebrated the 63rd anniversary Mays’ “The Catch,” which is arguably the greatest baseball catch known to history.
Much of Mays’ history in Harlem was laid bare Friday. The Giants called the baseball great just a few days after his 20th birthday in the 1950’s and summoned him to New York City, where he lived in a first-floor apartment on St. Nicholas Place just below 155th Street, according to the New York Times.
“In 1951 when I first started, I lived right on top of the hill on St. Nicholas Place,” Mays said, referring to the Sugar Hill area, where he lived during his first two years in New York, The Times reported. “I used to go up and down this street [to walk to the Polo Grounds via 155th Street] all the time, so I’m familiar with this area.”
Mays regularly played stickball with a group of 10 children, according to the report. He later made a name for himself when he became rookie of the year and won a World Series Championship.
The Giants’ departure to San Francisco took Mays away from Harlem in 1957. However, he returned to his home and visited more than 200 students at a local public school in January 2011. It’s clear that Harlem meant a lot to the baseball legend, and now its become even more clear he meant just as much to Harlem.