“Would you like to play for the Giants Willie?”
It was the summer of 1950 and Mays was playing centerfield for the Birmingham Black Barons. The 19-year-old took the contract from Eddie Montague, the Giants' Southern scout, and signed on the bottom line. Mays thought he was headed for Sioux City, but as he notes in his biography with Lou Sahadi, racial tensions there forced a change of plans.
Instead of Iowa, the Giants sent their young prospect to Trenton in the Class B Interstate League. Willie hopped on the train and joined the team in Hagerstown, Maryland, a town about 75 miles northwest of Washington, D.C.
55 years later, the mayor of Hagerstown wants to recognize Mays's pioneering efforts. In hs debut at Hagerstown, Mays endured racial slurs and had to stay in accommodations in a different part of town from his teammates.
Mayor Breichner’s first idea, to name part of Memorial Boulevard, Willie Mays Way, got voted down. The second idea, to re-name Hagerstown’s Municipal Stadium, Willie Mays Field, also met with resistance and was not approved.
I’m no expert in these matters but it seems to me the appropriate thing to do would be to erect a plaque/marker for Mays.
Willie Howard Mays Jr. Hall of Fame baseball player. Made professional debut here at Municipal Stadium on June 24, 1950. Became first black player in Class B Inter-State League.