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Willie Mays Receives Numerous Gifts and Presidential Telegram

May 3, 1963 - President Kennedy sent a telegram to Willie Mays tonight on the occasion of “Willie Mays Night” at the Polo Grounds. The message, which was received by Mays in the Giants’ dressing room after the game against the Mets, read: “I would like to join the many loyal fans at the Polo Grounds tonight honoring your achievements in the world of baseball. This honor is well deserved, and I know we can look forward to many years of the exciting spectacle of Willie Mays at bat and in the field. My very best wishes to all of your friends tonight.” JOHN F. KENNEDY. Representing Mayor Wagner, William Shea presented Mays with a golden key to the city. In so doing, he asked when Horace Stoneham was going to give Willie back to New York. Manhattan Borough President Edward R. Dudley read his proclamation making May 3 Willie Mays Day. All of Mays’ gifts not of a personal nature are to be given to the Police Athletic League. Included among Willie’s “catch” tonight was a seven-foot-long salami (pictured) shaped like a bat; a bright red bicycle; one year’s supply of coffee from Jackie Robinson; several games, like Monopoly; an alpaca sweater; a wardrobe presented by Jim Hearn, the old Giant; a $100 gift certificate for clothes; 2 TV sets; a stereophonic console record player; 16 record albums; a tape recorder; an engraved wristwatch presented by ex-Dodger Joe Black; a self-perpetual clock; a case of bubble gum; 100 copies of Willie’s book “Danger in Centerfield”; and from the New York baseball writers, a portable typewriter.


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