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Barry Bonds, Willie Mays' godson, attends Birmingham game

Thu Jun 20 11:52pm ET
Field Level Media

Barry Bonds paid tribute to his late godfather, Willie Mays, by attending the San Francisco Giants' game against the St. Louis Cardinals on Thursday in Birmingham, Ala.

The contest at Rickwood Field had long been scheduled as a salute to the Negro Leagues, but the focus sharpened on Tuesday when Mays died at age 93.

Mays, who was born in Alabama, began his pro career playing for the Birmingham Black Barons at Rickwood Field. He later spent the majority of his Hall of Fame career with the Giants, the same team for which Bonds starred decades later.

"I knew I needed to come here," Bonds said of Rickwood, according to USA Today. "This is what he would have wanted. It's pretty cool being here. I appreciate what's going on."

Bonds admitted he was struggling to deal with his emotions regarding Mays' death.

"It's still so hard," he said. "Normal conversations, I'm good. I'm not ready for the other ones right now. I'm trying. I really am trying, but it's hard right now."

USA Today reported that Bonds' visit to Rickwood included a meeting with Giants officials and a photo session with other former baseball players at a plaque honoring Mays.

"What's happening here is good," Bonds said. "With everything happening right now, it's really, really good. This is a great moment.

"It's a great day for baseball, period."

The Cardinals won the game 6-5.

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