Willie Mays saluted by current, former Giants players on 89th birthday

Amy Gutierrez
NBC Sports BayArea

Today, May 6, 2020, marks birthday number 89 for legendary Giant and Hall of Famer, Willie Mays.

What better way to celebrate the "Say Hey Kid" than hear from those that got to know him best -- current and former Giants players.

I sent out a few texts asking the fellas, "What does Mays mean to you?" and the responses were so overwhelming, I sent out more. Below is the result of what can only be described as ultimate respect and admiration for arguably the best to ever play the game.

In such a tumultuous time I hope thoughts from some of your favorite Giants about the greatest Giant bring a smile to your face.

Buster Posey

"The greatest to ever play the game! Very fortunate for us as players and fans for you to be a part of the Giants Organization for so many years. Happy birthday Willie!"

Will Clark

"Willie is the best that ever played the game. I learned so much from him and Willie McCovey that it is hard to describe. He IS the Giants!!! Happy birthday, my friend!!"

Matt Cain

"Willie is the best, there isn't anything better than when Willie comes into spring training and shares his stories. He tells them like it was yesterday that they happened."

Javier Lopez

"Willie Mays is the greatest player to play the game. To see him daily in Murphy's Clubhouse is some of the moments and memories I'll truly cherish. To know that he has touched so many lives both in and out of the Giant organization is a testament to how special this man is.

"From The Polo Grounds to Oracle Park 'The Say Hey Kid' continues to bring happiness and joy to all that love this sacred game. Happy 89th Birthday Willie!"

[GIANTS INSIDER PODCAST: Listen to the latest episode]

Shawon Dunston

"He means everything to me. He's a walking encyclopedia. You can ask him questions about ball and he brings the old days into now. Spring Training meetings, everyone asks him questions and he remembers everything about every game.

"He knows what he's talking about and you better take it to heart. It's beautiful. Happy Birthday, Willie."

Rich Aurilia

"When Barry went 40-40 in 1996, Willie said 'If I knew that would be such a big deal, I would've done it every year!!' "

Mike Krukow

"Willie Mays is the essence of our game and the uniqueness of his talent was that you didn't have to be a veteran big league scout to understand his brilliance. Even a person from another country with zero knowledge of baseball would know when they were watching Mays that they were watching the greatest who ever played."

[RELATED: Would Mays have out-homered Bonds at Oracle Park?]

Evan Longoria

"As a player who has been fortunate to play Major League Baseball as long as I have, there are few stories that I will tell my kids and grandkids. One of them will be about me having a conversation with one of the greatest players who ever lived. Happy Birthday Willie!"

Brandon Crawford

"Willie is one of best baseball players ever. He's a legend. To be able to have conversations with him, listen to his stories, and learn from his knowledge of the game over the years has been unbelievable. As a kid, I never would've imagined being able to sit down and hang out with Willie Mays."

Willie Mays saluted by current, former Giants players on 89th birthday originally appeared on NBC Sports Bay Area

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