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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

You Can Call Him the Say-Hey Doctor Now: Willie Mays To Receive Honorary Degree from SFSU

Posted By on Wed, Apr 22, 2009 at 7:30 AM

New York baseball fans of the 1950s used to argue which of their center fielders was the game's best: The Yankees' Mickey Mantle, Brooklyn's Duke Snider, or the Giants' Willie Mays.

Mays' case is looking better and better in retrospect -- and, in the ultimate coup de grâce, The Say-Hey Kid is the only one left alive. Soon, he'll also be the only one with a Ph.D from San Francisco State.

The school recently announced that Mays will receive an honorary doctorate at its May 23 commencement. Well, congrats to Willie! We wonder if his mortarboard cap will fall off as he receives his degree.

But we can't help recalling a very un-Ph.D moment involving the baseball great when he joined the San Francisco Giants' broadcasters many years ago for a never-repeated experiment of putting Mays on the air. The term "hitterish" was employed one time too many, but that paled in comparison to the moment when the Giants' grounded into a 6-4-3 double play to end the game -- and Mays loudly exclaimed "God damn it!" on the air.

Oh, it was Easter Sunday.

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About The Author

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi

Joe Eskenazi was born in San Francisco, raised in the Bay Area, and attended U.C. Berkeley. He never left. "Your humble narrator" was a staff writer and columnist for SF Weekly from 2007 to 2015. He resides in the Excelsior with his wife, 4.3 miles from his birthplace and 5,474 from hers.


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