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Willie Mays Was Vin Scully’s Favorite Player Even Though He Wore ‘The Wrong Uniform’

Vin Scully was a Dodgers legend.

But his favorite player of all time was a longtime member of the hated Giants: Willie Mays.

Scully made the revelation to Mays when they met, possibly for the first time, the night before Scully called his final Dodgers game after 67 years in the booth. A heartwarming video from Oct. 1, 2016, the interaction resurfaced on social media Tuesday after news broke that Mays died earlier that day at the age of 93.

“You’ve always been my favorite player, even though you wore the wrong uniform,” Scully told a laughing Mays.

Read more: Willie Mays, known for ‘The Catch’ and considered by many to be the best of the best in baseball, dies at the age of 93

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Scully died on August 2, 2022 at the age of 94.

The Dodgers ended the 2016 season with a series against the Giants at Oracle Park, meaning Scully’s farewell tour would mainly end in San Francisco. Before the second game of that series began, Mays made a surprise visit to the broadcast booth, much to Scully’s delight.

Somehow, the legendary broadcaster felt the need to introduce himself to the “Say Hey Kid.”

“I know who you are,” Mays said.

Scully then showered Mays with compliments, saying he was “dazzling” in the field and “the best player I’ve ever called.”

“You attacked every base hit like you were a shortstop,” Scully told the former center fielder. “That’s what surprised me, and I always said to people, do you realize when he attacks and gets the throw-in, it can go 140 yards?”

Read more: Vin Scully, Dodgers fans and the transistor radio: how an unbreakable bond was formed

Perhaps the most famous play of Mays’ Hall of Fame career was “The Catch,” a spectacular on-the-run grab with his back to the infield that robbed Cleveland’s Vic Wertz of a hit during Game 1 of the 1954 World Series .

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Scully told Mays that he was even more impressed by the throw that followed “The Catch,” which prevented both runners on base from advancing.

“That ball you caught that Vic Wertz hit in the World Series was probably at least 440. I mean, that’s how far away it was,” Scully said.

Scully added that another Mays catch was the biggest he had ever seen. It happened on Opening Day in 1952, when the Giants had a 7-6 lead against the Dodgers in the bottom of the ninth inning. With two outs and the bases loaded, Brooklyn’s Bobby Morgan lined a drive to center field.

“You hit the warning track, no helmet, you hit your head on the concrete wall, you rolled on your back and held the ball in your glove on your chest,” Scully recalled telling Mays. “Henry Thompson came over, reached in, took the ball out of your glove, held it in the air and they called Bobby out. That was the end of the game. That’s the biggest catch, the Best catch I ever saw.”

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Read more: Complete coverage: Remembering the life of Dodgers announcer Vin Scully (1927-2022)

Mays told Scully, “No one talks about that.”

Scully replied, “Yes, I do!”

On the night the two all-time greats met at what was then AT&T Park, Scully also introduced his wife, Sandy, to “my favorite, Willie Mays.”

The next day, Mays appeared in the booth again for Scully’s final game to help dedicate a plaque honoring the announcer in that box. As he received a thunderous ovation from the fans in San Francisco, Scully stood at the front of the booth, waving to the crowd with one hand and holding Mays’ hand with the other.

“Who would have thought I’d be holding your hand?” a beaming Scully said to Mays.

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This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

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