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San Francisco Dedicates Cable Car #24 as the “Willie Mays Car”

Friday, May 6, 2016

The City of San Francisco today dedicated Cable Car number 24 to baseball legend, Willie Howard Mays, Jr.. Today marks the Hall of Famer’s 85th birthday.


“Willie Mays is a legendary baseball player,” said Mayor Ed Lee. “But his connection to San Francisco goes beyond the baseball diamond. As a civil rights leader he paved the way for so many, as a role model he inspired kids to dream big, and as a humanitarian he has made the world a better place. Happy birthday to The Say Hey Kid!”


Cable Car 24 is a fitting choice to dedicate to Willie Mays. Not only was Mays’ uniform number 24, this cable car, originally built in 1887, was rebuilt by Muni craft workers to extend its life in 1958 - the year the Giants came to San Francisco.  It is also the only cable car to make a “road trip” while still on the active roster, having represented San Francisco at the Chicago Railroad Fair in 1948 and in Los Angeles in 1950.


"What better way to honor one San Francisco icon than with another.  Number 24 will keep climbing half way to the stars forever.  The Say Hey Cable Car always," said Malcolm Heinicke, SFMTA Director of the Board, longtime lawyer and friend to Mays.


“Like San Francisco cable cars, the legend of Willie Mays is iconic,” said SFMTA Director of Transportation, Ed Reiskin. “While it may not move as fast as Mr. Mays, Cable Car 24 will forever pay tribute to The Say Hey Kid as it climbs San Francisco’ majestic hills.”


Mays is widely considered the game’s greatest living player and many consider him the greatest player ever. His number, 24, has been retired by the San Francisco Giants and will never be worn again by anyone else. In 1951, Mays became the star rookie of the New York Giants and won a world championship with them in 1954, making the most famous catch in baseball history.


Mays brought his game to San Francisco in 1958. In his 22 season career, he tied the record for most All-Star game appearances, hit 660 home runs and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.


A plaque was mounted on the “Willie Mays Car” that reads: “Like San Francisco’s cable cars, Willie Mays is an icon for people around the world.  ‘The Say Hey Kid’ is one of the greatest athletes in American history, and a model for all baseball players who came after him. His number 24 is retired by the San Francisco Giants.”