House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) committed an embarrassing mistake Thursday in an attempt to send birthday wishes to legendary baseball Hall of Famer Willie Mays, one that could be described by multiple baseball metaphors — an error, a foul ball, a swing and a miss, or even a strikeout.
The problem is that while Pelosi intended to post a picture of herself and Mays to accompany a post honoring his birthday and his career, she instead posted a picture of her posing with another legendary Black ballplayer from San Francisco named Willie, as the Washington Examiner reported.
“Happy 90th Birthday to an all-American icon, Willie Mays,” Pelosi tweeted Thursday. “A trailblazing, record-breaking baseball player, civil rights leader, and champion for youth sports and well-being, Willie Mays is a civic legend and national treasure.”
That message, however, was attached to a picture from several years ago of the congresswoman and former San Francisco Giants star first baseman Willie McCovey, shortly before his death in 2018.
According to an analysis by ProPublica, which it terms “Politwoops,” the tweet with the mistaken photo was deleted three minutes after it was posted, suggesting the error was quickly caught and addressed — albeit not quick enough, as screenshots of the mix-up were taken in the brief interim and later went viral across social media.
A replacement tweet bearing the same message, this time with a photo of Pelosi and Mays, was posted after the initial tweet had been deleted.
Happy 90th Birthday to an all-American icon, Willie Mays. A trailblazing, record-breaking baseball player, civil rights leader, and champion for youth sports and well-being, Willie Mays is a civic legend and national treasure. #SayHey90https://t.co/KLinpgJ0yL pic.twitter.com/hlpnU4nYpH
— Nancy Pelosi (@SpeakerPelosi) May 7, 2021
The “wrong photo from the right wedding”
KCBS Radio reported that the picture of Speaker Pelosi and McCovey appeared to be from his August 2018 wedding to his wife, Estela, taken just a few months before McCovey passed away in October of that year.
Ironically, it appears that the photo of Pelosi and Mays in the replacement tweet also came from that same event, McCovey’s 2018 wedding, which could explain the mistake. It should be noted that the embarrassing mix-up was blamed on an unnamed staffer in Pelosi’s office.
In a statement provided to KCBS, a spokesperson said: “A staffer inadvertently selected the wrong photo for the tweet. The photo we wanted to use was of the Speaker and Willie Mays at Willie McCovey’s August 2018 wedding.”
“The quickly deleted photo was the wrong photo from the right wedding. We apologize for the error,” the statement added.
This may well have been an innocent mistake by a young staffer unaware of the difference between Willie Mays and Willie McCovey, but either way, it’s yet another embarrassing gaffe Pelosi can add to her growing collection.