Barry Bonds Issues Heartfelt Statement After Godfather Willie Mays Dies

San Francisco outfielder Barry Bonds is congratulated by former Giants great Willie Mays after hitting his 756th career home run in 2007.
San Francisco outfielder Barry Bonds is congratulated by former Giants great Willie Mays after hitting his 756th career home run in 2007. / Phil Carter-USA TODAY Sports
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Former San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds wrote an emotional post on social media shortly after it was announced that his godfather, baseball legend Willie Mays, died Tuesday afternoon at age 93.

"I am beyond devastated and overcome with emotion," Bonds stated. "I have no words to describe what you mean to me—you helped shape me to be who I am today. Thank you for being my Godfather and always being there. Give my dad a hug for me.

"Rest in peace Willie, I love you forever."

Mays played five seasons alongside Bonds's father, Bobby Bonds, on the Giants from 1968 to '72. Born in 1964, the younger Bonds was often in the Giants' clubhouse at Candlestick Park and spent quite a bit of time with Mays, playing catch and shagging balls in the outfield. Eventually, Mays was asked to be Barry's godfather, a role he immediately accepted.

Mays was often present during Bonds's 22-year MLB career. He was in attendance on Aug. 7, 2007—the night when Bonds hit his record-setting 756th home run to pass Hank Aaron and become baseball's all-time home run king. Mays also spoke during the on-field ceremony in San Francisco when Bonds's No. 25 jersey was retired by the Giants in 2018.

Mays was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979. His No. 24 jersey and Bonds's No. 25 are both retired by the Giants and on display at Oracle Park.


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Tom Dierberger

TOM DIERBERGER

Tom Dierberger is a staff writer and editor on the Breaking and Trending News team at Sports Illustrated. He joined SI in November 2023 after stints at FOX Sports, Bally Sports and NBC Sports. Dierberger has a bachelor's in communication from St. John's University. In his spare time, he can be seen throwing out his arm while playing fetch with his dog, Walter B. Boy.