Workers’ Compensation Lawyer San Diego, CA

Willie Mays, The Catch, and Planning the Next Step

Baseball, bat ang glove symbolizing the American pastime.

Willie Mays passed away last week. As a kid growing up in the sixties, he was my idol. I believe and will always believe he was the best all-around baseball player of all time.

AND, I got to meet him once for 2 ½ hours.

Many years ago, around 1985, I was working in the men’s sportswear department at a clothing store in the Palm Desert Mall in Palm Desert, CA. During the summer months, the place was a ghost town.

One day, who walked into my department? Yep, Willie Mays. I recognized him immediately. He was there with his wife, and I went over to ask if he needed any help. He said he did, and over the next 2 ½ hours, I brought him clothes to try on and shoes. I admitted to him I was a HUGE, huge fan. He got a kick out of it.

After a while, I worked up the guts to ask him some questions. I told him about the infamous photo of him playing stickball in the streets and asked if that was real or staged. He said it was real.

AT&T Park Aerial Photo

Encouraged he did not just blow me off with quick responses, I asked about The Catch – the iconic catch in Game 1 of the 1954 World Series.  I said (the conversation is paraphrased but very close to his original words):

“Did you know you had the catch?”

Willie responded, “Yeah I knew I had it all the way.”

“What were you thinking at that moment?”

Willie said, “I knew I had the catch; I was thinking about the best way to get the ball back into the infield as fast as I could with some zip to keep the runners from moving up.”

Wow! What a moment. He was not thinking about the catch but the next move, how to stay ahead and put his team in the best position to win.

Good lawyering is just like that. It involves planning not only the first step but also the next step to set up the win.

When he was done, I asked him for a favor; he said, "You want my autograph? I said, "No, I just want to shake your hand." We shook hands and my hand was lost within his huge mitt of a hand – his hand was humongous. If they had had cell phones with cameras back then, I would have requested a picture.

As an attorney who handles your case, I emulate Willie Mays's thinking; I am not thinking just about the immediate issue in front of your case, but how I am going to get that ball back into the infield to win your case.

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