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Fans gather at Willie Mays Plaza at Oracle Park to remember Giants legend

Fans leaving flowers at Willie Mays Plaza in honor of San Francisco Giants legend
Fans leaving flowers at Willie Mays Plaza in honor of San Francisco Giants legend 03:38

SAN FRANCISCO — Tributes of all sounds and meaning poured into Willie Mays Plaza at Oracle Park in San Francisco to commemorate the passing — and legacy — of its namesake, Willie Mays, who died Tuesday.

Fans, including Carrie Brandon, stopped by the statue of the Say Hey Kid to pay their respects and reflect on the impact he had on each person passing through.

"I was born and bred a Giants fan, coming to games since I was seven years old," she told CBS News Bay Area. "For me, at my age it's hard to imagine living in a world that he's not here, but it means to much to have his statue and his legacy as part of the Bay Area."

Most people today never had the pleasure of seeing Willie Mays play baseball. But Brandon came closer than most when she performed the national anthem at just 13 years old during a game Mays was being honored at.

"To get to interact with this legend, even at a young age, I knew what an incredible opportunity I had to meet him," she recalled. "It was one of my best childhood memories."

Fans of the Giants and baseball paid their respects Tuesday evening, piling flowers, notes, baseballs, candles and bobbleheads higher with each hour. Some fans offered a prayer, others shed a tear.

But the impact of Mays shines through the tangible tributes and is seen through the spirit of baseball, and San Francisco.

Jelani Adams was dining across the street when he learned of the passing of the Giants legend.

Adams is a Dodgers fan, but says rivalries are put aside when a legend of Mays' level passes on.

"I will admit I am a die-hard Dodger fan but you have to respect what that man did. Particularly as a Black athlete during the time that he played, on the eve of Juneteenth, you cannot ignore the fact that Willie Mays definitely paved the way for a lot of athletes that you see today, Especially in MLB, Mookie Betts being one," Adams said. "He's a legend."

From rivalry to camaraderie, Mays' baseball legacy pierces through generations.

For Brandon, she mourns the loss of that legend, alongside her father who played a tribute of "Take Me Out To The Ballgame" on his trumpet. A moment to cherish one last time the Say Hey Kid.

"The city is grieving today," said Brandon, "but also celebrating the life of an incredible person who meant so much to the Bay."                                    

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