Willie Mays, One Of The Best To Ever Play, Known For ‘The Catch,’ Dead At 93 – One America News Network

NEW YORK - JANURARY 21: Willie Mays visits PS 46 in Harlem, next to the site of the former Polo Grounds, where the new York Giants played before moving to San Francisco in 1958, on Jan. 21, 2011 in New York City. The Giants hadn't won the World Series since 1954. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Getty Images)
Willie Mays visits PS 46 in Harlem, next to the site of the former Polo Grounds, where the new York Giants played before moving to San Francisco in 1958, on Jan. 21, 2011 in New York City. The Giants hadn’t won the World Series since 1954. (Photo by Michael Nagle/Getty Images)

OAN’s James Meyers
8:52 AM – Wednesday, June 19, 2024

MLB legend Willie Mays, the “Say Hey Kid” died Tuesday afternoon the San Francisco Giants announced. He was 93. 


“It is with great sadness that we announce that San Francisco Giants Legend and Hall of Famer Willie Mays passed away peacefully this afternoon at the age of 93,” the Giants said in a statement.

Mays, whose prodigious power, unbelievable speed and amazing glove gave fans excitement from coast to coast during baseball’s golden era. 

Mays, who was nicknamed the “Say Hey Kid” for his enthusiasm and willingness to greet everyone, played for 22 big-league seasons, breaking in with the New York Giants in 1951 and then becoming a staple in San Francisco when the team moved to the west coast. He finished his career in New York with the Mets in 1973. 

The Hall of Famer was considered one of the greatest players ever to touch the baseball diamond, making his debut in 1951 as a 20-year-old for the New York Giants. Mays was a standout and caught the eyes of MLB teams while playing in the Negro American League with the Birmingham Black Barons. 

Mays would go on to be a 24-time All-Star, two-time MVP, 12-time Gold Glover, two-time All-Star Game MVP, Rookie of the Year and 1954 World Series champion in an unbelievable career that led to an easy Hall of Fame induction. 

Baseball experts considered Mays a rare “five-tool” talent, which means he had dynamite speed, could throw with the best outfielders, hit for average, outstanding fielding and slugged for power. 

Mays compiled stats that players dream of. “The “Say Hey Kid” finished with a .301 career batting average, hit 660 home runs (sixth most all-time), shelled out 3,293 hits (12th most), amassed 1,909 runs batted in (11th most) and scored 2,068 runs (seventh most).

“Today we have lost a true legend,” Giants Chair Greg Johnson said. “In the pantheon of baseball greats, Willie Mays’ combination of tremendous talent, keen intellect, showmanship, and boundless joy set him apart. A 24-time All-Star, the Say Hey Kid is the ultimate Forever Giant. He had a profound influence not only on the game of baseball, but on the fabric of America. He was an inspiration and a hero who will be forever remembered and deeply missed.”

Giants president and CEO Larry Baer added, “I fell in love with baseball because of Willie, plain and simple. My childhood was defined by going to Candlestick with my dad, watching Willie patrol centerfield with grace and the ultimate athleticism. Over the past 30 years, working with Willie, and seeing firsthand his zest for life and unbridled passion for giving to young players and kids, has been one of the joys of my life.”

Mays was also known for one of the most iconic plays ever in an MLB game during the 1954 World Series that was called “The Catch.”

During Game 1, Mays in a sprint to straight away center field with the game tied in the eighth inning, 2-2, against the then-Cleveland Indians. Vic Wertz hit a long fly ball with runners on base, and it looked like the tie was about to be broken. 

However, that was until the “Say Hey Kid” made a mind-blowing, over-the-shoulder catch and had the quick presence of mind to throw the ball in fast so the runners on base couldn’t advance. The play helped the Giants prevail in winning the game 5-2, and that unbelievable play is now talked about as one of the greatest ever in MLB history. 

“All of Major League Baseball is in mourning today as we are gathered at the very ballpark where a career and a legacy like no other began. Willie Mays took his all-around brilliance from the Birmingham Black Barons of the Negro American League to the historic Giants franchise. From coast to coast in New York and San Francisco, Willie inspired generations of players and fans as the game crew and truly earned its place as our National Pastime,” MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said.

“Willie Mays was one of the greatest to ever play the game,” Mets co-owners Steve and Alex Cohen said in a statement. “Willie ended his Hall of Fame career in Queens and was a key piece to the 1973 NL championship team. Mays played with a style and grace like no one else. Alex and I were thrilled to honor a previous promise from Joan Payson to retire his iconic #24 as a member of the Mets in 2022. 

“On behalf of our entire organization, we send our thoughts and prayers to Willie’s family and friends.”

The “Say Hey Kid” also spent 1952 and 19563 serving in the Army. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by then President Barack Obama in 2015. 

Mays is also considered one of the greatest athletes ever in sports history to most experts. 

The Giants will announce a public celebration of Mays’ life at a later date. Meanwhile, fans who wish to offer condolences can send letters to the Mays family care of the San Francisco Giants, attention Forever 24, 24 Willie Mays Plaza, San Francisco, CA 94107.

Additionally, the MLB is slated to play a regular-season game on Thursday at historic Rickwood Field in Birmingham, Alabama, where Mays played his Negro League games with the Black Barons, between his Giants and the St. Louis Cardinals. 

“Thursday’s game at historic Rickwood Field was designed to be a celebration of Willie Mays and his peers. With sadness in our hearts, it will now serve as a national remembrance of an American hero who will forever remain on the short list of the most impactful individuals our great game has ever known,” Manfred said.

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James Meyers
Author: James Meyers

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