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Mays and Cepeda Sign 1964 Contracts

Jan. 15, 1964 - The two big guns firing from the right side came to terms amicably with the San Francisco Giants today. Willie Mays dropped off his signed contract at Candlestick Park in the morning, then hurried to the airport for a New York flight. Willie had to catch the plane with his adopted son, Michael, 4, in tow, for delivery to his ex-wife, Marguerite. Willie had the boy at his home over the Christmas holidays, and the court stipulation was that Marguerite was to have Michael before Willie goes to spring camp.

Mays, who will be far from over the hill on his 33rd birthday this May 6, has “four or five” useful years ahead of him, in the view of the Giants’ hierarchy. “We’re paying him a fat salary because he wins games for us in ways that don’t show up in his batting average,” attested Giant vice president Chub Feeney. “Sure, Willie strikes out a lot. That’s because he takes the full cut. Once on base, he worries the pitcher and upsets the opposition’s infield. Willie is the only man who can stretch from first to third on an infield scratch. His nuisance value on the paths makes it easier for Giant batsmen coming up.” This was the 14th contract Mays delivered to owner Horace Stoneham’s hand.

Also this morning, an airmail arrived from Puerto Rico from Orlando Cepeda, saying he was happy to accept his 1964 contract too. Willie signed for $105,000, and Cepeda is believed to have signed for $52,000, a $5,000 raise. “I was expecting it,” said Cepeda by telephone. “I knew they were going to give me a raise. They have been very nice to me.” Cepeda said he hadn’t talked to manager Alvin Dark recently and didn’t know where he was going to play this season. “I prefer first base,” he said, “but I will play wherever they put me.”


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