HOUSTON — There’s nothing like a surprise birthday party. But one for the great Willie Mays definitely takes the cake.
It’s May 6, 1968, and the San Francisco Giants are in Houston to play the Astros.
It’s also Willie Mays’ birthday.
Before the game, Astros owner Roy Hofheinz celebrates Mays turning 37 with a massive cake.
The 569-pound cake, one pound for each of Mays' home runs, contains 3,800 eggs, 150 pounds of butter, 150 pounds of sugar, 300 pounds of flour and 100 pounds of almonds, according to the Associated Press. The cake is in the figure of 24, Mays' uniform number. It was also decorated with Christmas tree lights.
The cake becomes big news. A picture from the Associated Press, showing Mays licking his fingers, later appears in nearly every newspaper in the country.
Another gift, however, wasn’t Mays' taste. Hofheinz also presented Mays with two gallons of champagne. Mays doesn’t drink, so he gave it to his teammates.
The leftover cake was sent to Texas Children’s Hospital.
An astronomical cake for Willie Mays’ 37th birthday? It’s a strange but true Houston sports story.