willie mays and blasting caps


Back in the 1960's, there weren't as many endorsement opportunities for African-American or Latino athletes, no matter how good they were. Minority baseballers had to choose from whatever TV commercials were offered. For the Giants, Willie McCovey did commercials for Bel-Air Foods. Juan Marichal shilled for Saxon Apple Juice. And the great Willie Mays did public service announcements about the dangers of blasting caps:

(Via YouTube)

My dad says that this has to be one of the most successful public service announcements of all time, as he can't remember hearing about anyone being injured or maimed by blasting caps. In fact, he can't remember ever seeing abandoned blasting caps lying around town. It may have been that dad's friends were sure to protect their hands and arms, and thus saved their eyes.

Willie Mays isn't shown doing anything particularly spectacular in the ad's baseball highlights. It's not clear what's happening in the first clip, as there appears to be a play at the plate, before Mays is shown sliding into second. Then Mays hits an easy single. I think the admakers didn't want to distract from the blasting caps monologue, especially this line:

"If you see a blasting caps, remember now, don't touch them. Tell the police, or a fireman, whatever it is."

In the end, this is a timeless message. Have fun, like Willie does, with baseball equipment. Not with blasting caps, OK? Don't touch them!


oh my god. i can't believe how much danger i've been in. willie mays, where have you been all of my dangerous misspent youth?!

This video has been removed at the request of copyright owner Major League Baseball because its content was used without permission

MLB took it down off of youtube, but now it's back up: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9189w2xliY

MLB made youtube take it down...but now it's back up: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g9189w2xliY

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This page contains a single entry by Sean Keane published on June 9, 2006 11:20 PM.

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