What do you think?

April 10, 2005

Editor's note: Each week, The Herald-Mail invites readers to answer poll questions on its Web site, Readers also may submit comments about the poll question when voting. Each Sunday, a sampling of reader comments will appear in The Herald-Mail.

Last week's poll question was: Should the City of Hagerstown rename Memorial Boulevard to Willie Mays Way?

"Wow! Why would the town of Hagerstown, the town in which Willie Mays said he was treated the most harshly in his life (P.S. He played in Atlanta, Ga.), name a street after him? Should it be done because he played a game there? I remember seeing players like Mike Mussina, Curt Schilling and Carlos Delgado play there (and for the HOME team) as well. Why don't we name some streets after them while we are at it?"

"I would support the idea to rename part of Memorial Boulevard in honor of Willie Mays.


I think that a good compromise would be to have East Memorial Boulevard be renamed to Willie Mays Way only in the block in front of the ballpark from Eastern Boulevard to Frederick Street. In this way, 'Memorial Boulevard' would remain from Frederick Street (in front of Rose Hill) all the way to nearly Park Circle. The Willie Mays Way would be in front of the ballpark where Willie Mays first played professional baseball.

This is an appropriate solution, and the City Council would not feel as though they're disappointing veterans, especially in this election year. This would also allow the City of Hagerstown to keep its promise to Willie Mays. It would also allow the City the chance to work with Mr. Mays for the upcoming Alsatia Mummers Parade, and the proposed Willie Mays Museum. These would create positive economic impacts for Hagerstown and Washington County."

"How in the world did this get started? I object because I am a World War II vet, and my relatives were World War I vets. I remember that in the '80s when the Suns were in the Carolina League, such good players as Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden played here.

They were given the raspberries from the crowd, as most minor league fans do. There has been no uproar about that. By the way, where are the folks that actually were in the stands when Willie played here. Give us a break, let the present name stand. Also, to the editor, forget naming a new Stadium after Willie, unless he contributes some of the funding."

"Willie is probably a very nice man and deserves some recognition for being a baseball great, but that's it. He's one man, a celebrity, and that's all.

I was here in Hagerstown in the 1950s and Willie being here didn't mean anything then and it doesn't mean anything now, on the street or the stadium.

What does matter is the veterans of WWI and WWII should have the right of domain in my mind, on Memorial Boulevard ..."

"If we are to rename Memorial Boulevard, it should be named Veterans Memorial Boulevard. And lock it in. And add Eastern Boulevard and Northern Ave. Why don't we rename every street in Hagerstown for some sports player.

No! We should not name a street or anything else for Willie Mays. The City of Hagerstown, and the people, do not owe Willie Mays anything. He may have been a great baseball player, but so was Cal Ripken. Let's change Hagerstown to Ripstown ..."

"How can anyone consider slapping our vets in the face by changing Memorial Boulevard to any other name. The boulevard was named in honor of WW I vets but stands as a tribute to all who served in the armed forces. With American soldiers dying on foreign soil on a daily basis, it is pure arrogance to even discuss a name change. Obviously, some politician fishing for votes. Let Memorial Boulevard remain a memorial."

"How about a little perspective? Willie Mays got dissed during a visit to Hagerstown. Made millions during his career and after. Hundreds of thousands of Americans gave their lives for their country.

Actually, I think that Willie has enough class that he wouldn't want to have his name pasted over the rightful, even if inadequate, tribute to some of the real greatest Americans."

"Hmmm ... OK, don't we have several athletes that have achieved pro status that are actually from Hagerstown/Washington County? Leo Burke of Orioles fame ... Garrett Stephenson ... P.J. Hiser ... I'm sure that there are more. Who knows, in the near future, we could be adding David Miner to the list! I say we honor our local heroes first!

Besides, there are many other pro ball players that have played here in Hagerstown ... I'd love to live on Billy Ripken Road, but I doubt that'll ever happen!"

"Maybe I missed something ... but what does he have to do with Hagerstown????"

"Pick a boulevard! Any boulevard! Just not the one named in remembrance of our fallen heroes. I like Willie. I met him 25 years ago and he was a gentlemen back then. I'm sure if you asked him, he would tell you not to rename Memorial Boulevard. Eastern Boulevard would be my choice."

"Willie Mays was a great baseball player and that goes without question. However, I fail to see the purpose of renaming a street (Memorial Boulevard of all streets) after him simply because he came to town for a visit. If you want to name a street after him, that's all fine and dandy. How about naming a street in a new development after him or some other new road that will be build shortly.

Memorial Boulevard is already a memorial ... thus the name. What is the point to changing it to 'memorialize' a visiting baseball player?"

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