Willie Mays, baseball’s “Say Hey Kid,” has died at the age of 93

Willie Mays, the “Say Hey Kid”—who is considered by many to be the greatest, if not the greatest, ballplayer of all time—has died at the age of 93.

Mays, who broke into baseball in 1948 with the Birmingham Black Barons of the Negro League, spent 21 major league seasons with the New York and San Francisco Giants, finishing his career as a New York Met . He remains the only player in the history of the majors to have at least 3,000 hits, a .300 average, 300 home runs and 300 stolen bases. He eventually scored 660 goals for the hosts, placing him sixth on the all-time list.

Mays won 12 Gold Glove awards, was a two-time National League MVP (in 1954 and 1965) and was a 24-time All-Star. Ted Williams once remarked, only half-jokingly: “They invented the All-Star Game for Willie Mays.”

Mays was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1979, his first year of eligibility, five years after his retirement. Although he was not a unanimous nominee, his vote share—94.6—was the highest since the first voting year, in 1936, when Ty Cobb, according to New York Times, recorded with 98.2 percent. (Babe Ruth and Honus Wagner returned 95.1 percent each.) On August 27, 2022, Mays became one of only 11 players whose jersey number – 24 – had been drafted by two major league teams. which he played into retirement.

Mays is the quintessential five-tool player. Regarding his dominance in the game, legendary Negro Leaguer Buck O’Neil, himself a Hall of Fame inductee, called Mays “the best Major League ballplayer I have ever see. Ted Williams hit you with a stick. Joe DiMaggio hit you with his bat, gloves and arms. But Willie Mays can beat you with the bat, the glove, the arm and by running. He can beat you in any way possible.” The legendary Reggie Jackson once commented about Mays, “You’d think, if it was 5-0, he’d hit a five-run homer.”

Mays was also a success off the field, his talent echoing the Treniers’ famous 1954 recording, “Say Hey (The Willie Mays Song)”:

He runs the bases like a choo-choo train
Spin around every second like an airplane
His hat flew off as he passed for third place
And he returned home like an eagle.

That same year, as Sports Illustrated After that, NBC premiered a new show called Tonight’s program: “The network needed a big guest star for the premiere, and none shone brighter than Willie Mays in the fall of ’54, who joined the broadcast live, from his home in Harlem, image was transmitted electronically downtown to the Rockefeller Center studios via expensive cable and camera connections. Mays, in pajamas, was serenaded by singer Steve Lawrence at his apartment window, then chatted on the phone, on a split screen, with the host.

Over time, Mays achieved such cultural cachet that celebrities often asked him to do it. his signature. In 1966, he even guest-starred in a TV series Intoxicated, in which he spoofs his own supernatural abilities while playing the shaman friend of a modern-day witch named Samantha. (“Is he…” her husband Darrin stammered. “The way he came home running, anything else?” she replied.)

Willie Howard Mays, Jr. born May 6, 1931 in Westfield, Alabama. It was his father, Willie Sr. — a steel worker and railroad porter — was the man who introduced him to baseball, Mays said in his 1988 autobiography, Say hey: “My dad was determined that if I wanted to, I would become a baseball player and not have to work in a steel mill the way he did.”

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