Earlier this week, as Major League Baseball prepared for a tribute game in his hometown of Birmingham, Alabama, Willie Mays said that age would keep him away but that he would be watching from afar.

"Rickwood Field is where I played my first home game, and playing there was it — everything I wanted,” he said in a statement to The San Francisco Chronicle.

Mays died the next day, at 93, and as fans walked into the ballpark Thursday, it felt like he was there in spirit, watching from afar.