SAN FRANCISCO -- The Giants paid homage to their 1954 World Series team Saturday by handing out replica World Series rings to fans and introducing center fielder Willie Mays before the game.

Before the Giants' 5-3 victory over the Cleveland Indians, Mays spoke with several reporters about his recollections from the '54 World Series against the Indians.

"(That) is the only one we won, in '54," Mays said. "So that was a special thing for me because I just came out of the service. ... If I hadn't been in the service two years, I would've got to the Babe without any problem. But you had to go serve your country.

"So I went for two years and came out, and in '54 we won everything. That was a great thing for me at that time."

Babe, of course, is Babe Ruth, who finished with 714 home runs. Mays collected 660 during his illustrious career.

Both enjoyed Hall of Fame careers. However, Ruth made more headlines for his pitching and hitting prowess. Mays also flourished as a fielder and base runner.

In the '54 World Series against the Indians, Mays made one of the most memorable catches in baseball history when he hauled in Vic Wertz's deep drive in center with an over-the-shoulder catch in Game 1.

Mays said he isn't sure whether that was his best catch. He did say that it was a pivotal catch, given it came in the eighth inning of a tight game.

The Indians had two runners on with no outs in a 2-2 game at the time. The Giants went on to win that game and swept the Indians in four games.


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"I don't know, man; it wasn't a lucky catch," Mays said. "I used to catch fly balls like that all the time, but you're talking about a World Series. You're talking about something that doesn't happen all the time.

"Even if you make a catch like that, which I did in the regular season, but to catch it in a way that the world is looking at you, it's remarkable."