Willie Mays Day

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Willie Mays Day was an October 31, 1981 event honoring the life and career of Westfield native, former Birmingham Black Barons star, and Hall of Fame outfielder Willie Mays. Organized by childhood friend, fellow Fairfield Industrial High School alumnus and then-Mayor of Birmingham Richard Arrington, Jr, the celebration included a parade around Woodrow Wilson Park, the presentation of a plaque and key to the city during halftime of the Magic City Classic at Legion Field, and an evening reception at the Hyatt House.

The event was, in part, an attempt to repair a chilly relationship between Birmingham and its greatest baseball player. Mays did not appear at his 1977 induction into the Alabama Sports Hall of Fame and had not before been honored with a city-wide celebration. At the time of the event, he expressed that he and his wife, who then resided in Atlantic City, New Jersey, had discussed moving back to Birmingham, where he felt that he could be helpful working with children.