Willie Mays mural

From Bhamwiki
Jump to navigation Jump to search
The Willie Mays mural on June 21, 2024

The Willie Mays mural is a large painted mural honoring Hall of Fame baseball great Willie Mays on the 100-foot-long by 50-foot-tall west wall of the Birmingham National Garage at 1813–1819 1st Avenue North in downtown Birmingham. It was commissioned in 2024 by Major League Baseball and T-Mobile as part of the MLB at Rickwood Field: A Tribute to the Negro Leagues event.

The mural was laid out and prepped by Colossal Media of Brooklyn, New York. The portrait of Mays at the center of the mural, based on a 1948 photograph of Mays in his Birmingham Black Barons uniform, was executed by Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based artist Chuck Styles.

The portrait is framed by the name "WILLIE MAYS" in enormous block letters, ornamented with orange and black decorative brush strokes reflecting the San Francisco Giants' team colors. A reproduction of his signature in black was added to the top right of the design. Below the name is a row of pennants highlighting his "Most Valuable Player" awards. One pennant indicated 1956 rather than 1965, and was later corrected. To the left of the artwork a caption reads "BIRMINGHAM'S OWN 'Say Hey' Kid. CENTERFIELDER & THE GAME'S GREATEST ALL-AROUND PLAYER OF ALL TIME.". Below that caption is a list of Mays' teams, including the Birmingham Black Barons, New York Giants, San Francisco Giants, and New York Mets.

Mays was invited to attend the June 20 game between his San Francisco Giants and the St Louis Cardinals at Rickwood. On the morning of June 18 he sent his regrets, citing poor health. He died hours later. The mural became a memorial before it was dedicated on June 19, with speakers such as Giants CEO Larry Baer and Birmingham Mayor Randall Woodfin eulogizing him.

A metal plaque mounted to the wall to the right of the mural reads: "A Tribute to the Negro Leagues: This mural, designed by the renowned artist Chuck Styles, celebrates Birmingham-native and Baseball Hall of Famer Willie Mays. Known for his extraordinary talent and groundbreaking achievements, Mays began his illustrious career with the Birmingham Black Barons. His legacy of excellence and perseverance continues to inspire future generations."

The bottom of the plaque displays the logos of T-Mobile, MLB at Rickwood Field, SPM (manager of Jemison Flats), and Major League Baseball.

References