“Happy 90th Birthday to an all-American icon, Willie Mays,” Pelosi wrote in a tweet that was accompanied by a photo of former San Francisco Giants first baseman Willie McCovey, who died in 2018. “A trailblazing, record-breaking baseball player, civil rights leader, and champion for youth sports and well-being, Willie Mays is a civic legend and national treasure.”
Pelosi’s office told KCBS Radio that the mistake was made by a member of the speaker’s staff.
“A staffer inadvertently selected the wrong photo for the tweet. The photo we wanted to use was of the Speaker and Willie Mays at Willie McCovey’s August 2018 wedding. The quickly deleted photo was the wrong photo from the right wedding. We apologize for the error,” the statement read.
Pelosi (who represents most of the city of San Francisco in Congress) released a statement honoring Mays’s trailblazing career and work with youth and against domestic violence on the center fielder’s 90th birthday, celebrating “all he has done and continues to do to encourage change when it serves justice.”
Mays began his career in the Negro Leagues, playing for the Birmingham Barons at 16 years old. During his decadeslong career, he hit 660 home runs. Mays is widely considered among the greatest baseball players of all time and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979.
“He is still unlike any other player I have ever seen,” sportscaster Tim McCarver said of Mays. “Nobody ever more exuded the way the game should be played, and in a joyful way, than Willie Mays. Don’t get me wrong — plenty of other guys had joy. Just not like Willie’s joy.”