In a botched attempt to honor baseball legend Willie Mays on his 90th birthday, a photo of Willie McCovey, who is also black, was posted to Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s Twitter account with a birthday message for Mays captioning the shot.
Pelosi would later change out the photo to one of her and Mr. Hays and issue a statement blaming a staffer for the screwup.
“House Speaker Nancy Pelosi tried to honor baseball legend Willie Mays for his 90th birthday Thursday but fouled out when the 81-year-old pol instead tweeted out a smiling photo of herself — with Willie McCovey,” the New York Post reported. “McCovey and the Say Hey Kid are both black Hall of Famers who played together for almost two decades for the San Francisco Giants. The Dem boss apparently has smiling images of herself with both men.”
Twitter noticed the error before the tweet was deleted.
Madam Speaker, that’s not Willie Mays cc @SpeakerPelosi pic.twitter.com/q8PUzkChiR
— Sean Spicer (@seanspicer) May 8, 2021
As noted by the Post, McCovey is now deceased, passing away in 2018 at the age of 80.
In a statement to CBS San Francisco, Pelosi’s team blamed the mistake on a staffer.
“A staffer inadvertently selected the wrong photo for the tweet,” read the statement. “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.”
A correct tweet later replaced the botched post; the photo was now of Pelosi and Mays and the post read exactly like the first post: “Happy 90th birthday to an all-American icon, Willie Mays. 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. #SayHey90.”
Happy 90th Birthday to an all-American icon, Willie Mays. 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. #SayHey90https://t.co/KLinpgJ0yL pic.twitter.com/hlpnU4nYpH
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) May 7, 2021
A press release from Pelosi honoring Mays stated:
Happy 90th Birthday to an all-American icon, Willie Mays. 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. How proud we were to see President Obama joyfully granting him the Presidential Medal of Freedom. How proud we were to see Willie reveling in the San Francisco Giants’ three World Series victories and rallying fans at the ballpark.
When we dedicated a statue for Willie Mays’ fellow Alabamian, civil rights hero Rosa Parks, in the Capitol of the United States, I invited Willie Mays as my guest. He could not attend but sent a letter to mark the occasion, and gave me permission to share his words. He said: “Most times, change doesn’t happen fast. Most times, it happens bit by bit, little by little, one person’s actions inspiring another. Rosa Parks simply did what was natural. And that simple act sparked outrage, and that outrage spread, and one person’s actions inspired change. We will try to remember to encourage change when it serves justice.”
On his 90th birthday, we remember Willie Mays growing up with injustice and blazing a trail, first in the Negro Leagues, and then as a Hall of Famer in Major League Baseball with the Giants. We celebrate Willie Mays using his voice to advocate for civil rights, for opportunity for children and against domestic violence. We celebrate his lasting impact, through his Say Hey Foundation and the Willie Mays Boys and Girls Club of San Francisco, on the legions of youth scholars and athletes he has helped. And we celebrate Willie Mays for all he has done and continues to do to encourage change when it serves justice.
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