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The good Willie Mays

Willie Mays is just one of the signature football player in baseball history. However, not lot is known around him beyond the usual stuff favor the 1954 World series catch, the 660 career home runs, the hall of fame election, and the “Say Hey Kid” nickname. Past these apparent items, the is sort of an enigma. Mays is often shown as a happy-go-lucky player, however he rarely common anything personal and kept his company to himself. This triggered me to research him more, particularly by analysis Willie Mays: The Life, the Legend by James Hirsch, i beg your pardon is the most substantial biography available around Mays. Here are ten amazing items ns learned around Willie while analysis the book.

1. His Dad play Baseball

Willie Mays Sr, or Cat as he was known, play in an commercial baseball team organization for the mills and factories around Birmingham, Alabama and also by all accounts was a kind player with great speed.

Willie’s father was good-natured and spent a the majority of time v his kid Willie showing him the finer points of baseball. He additionally taught Willie to prevent smoking and drinking. That warned him that they were no an excellent and would just slow the down. Cat was straightforward going, but likewise firm once it was needed. It appears Willie inherited his genial demeanor and good-natured manner indigenous his dad together with some baseball fundamentals.


2. The speak Hey Kid

Mays has one of the finest nicknames in baseball history. That came around because he used to good everyone with “Hey” once he experienced them. He was meeting so many new people the he often couldn’t remember if he had met someone before so he would just say to them “Hey, just how you doing?” or “Hey, whereby you been?” The beat writers took note of this and also started calling him the say Hey Kid.

This nickname to the right well through his high-pitched voice and also engaging demeanor. Beforehand he was likewise called Duck Buck since of his rear end, which stuck out prefer a duck’s. It to be shortened to just Buck, i beg your pardon his old girlfriend still contact him today. The was also called Cap since he to be the team captain the the Giants for number of years.

3. He Wasn't elevated by His Mom

Willie was lugged up through his dad Cat and his two aunts. His mom, Annie Satterwhite, didn’t desire to be through Cat Mays after ~ Willie to be born. She married someone else, had 10 kids, and also lived a separate life across town. Willie would visit her occasionally, yet he didn’t view her ~ above a constant basis. She passed away during childbirth in 1953 in ~ the period of 37. Willie seldom looks earlier and almost never talks around his mother. Others that knew her stated she had actually a fiery temper and also would stand up for herself.

4. He play in the black Leagues

Willie joined the Birmingham black color Barons in 1948 once he was just 17 and still in high school. Mays playing style can be traced ago to his time through the Barons wherein he learned a faster, much more exciting brand of baseball that emphasized basic stealing, bunting, and also the hit and run. Most of his teammates to be at least 10 years older 보다 him and were get an impression men. Lock were likewise good. Mays had actually two access time in his very first game ~ above July 4th and later on was readily available a contract for $250 a month. He was allowed to play only as soon as school to be out. Due to the fact that of his salary, he was banned from play for his high school teams. The learned from his older teammates exactly how to attend to racism.


5. He had actually an incredible Throwing Arm

Willie can throw the round so hard that countless scouts projected he would certainly make a far better pitcher 보다 outfielder. Over there are plenty of stories the Wille cram strikes indigenous the outfield fence to nab the runner at residence plate. He can throw a round 200 feet and also make your hand sting claimed one player. That amassed an exceptional 195 outfield assists in his career, including 22 in 1955 and 23 in 1956.

There is one legend play from august 1951 versus the Dodgers the turned the tide of the season as soon as Mays threw out Billy Cox at residence with a 275-foot strike. One player said that Mays to be the just one he ever before saw that can run difficult one way and throw tough in the other direction. Joe DiMaggio claimed he had the biggest arm he ever saw.

6. He offered in the Army

When the 1951 season was over, Mays got a letter indigenous the selective organization asking him to report for a physical. Uncle Sam needed males to struggle the battle in Korea and Willie to be a element candidate to be drafted. The tried to insurance claim hardship and also deliberately flunked the composed exam the first time, however was still asserted eligible by the breeze board. The was never sent to Korea. His major job was to entertain the troops by playing baseball because that the ft Eustis team. That spent many of his time play baseball and also reading comic books.


7. Jackie Robinson criticize Him

Willie only had actually admiration because that the Dodger legend. However, on two occasions, Jackie take it shots in ~ Mays. The an initial was as soon as Jackie’s book Baseball has actually Done It to be published. Robinson singled the end Mays and Maury Wills for no being an ext vocal around their experiences together African-Americans in the game. Climate in 1968, during a television interview, Robinson criticized Mays as a “do-nothing” as soon as it concerned civil legal rights activism. Willie comment by saying the he was not a vocal leader and also that his tactful technique helped open up doors for others that adhered to him.

8. That Was an extremely Smart

Mays was always studying various other players come look because that weaknesses and tendencies the he could take advantage of in ~ a later on date. Willie command the defense on exactly how to play the batter. He intervened in fights, many notably the incident where huge teammate Juan Marichal win Dodger catcher man Roseboro with his bat, which resulted in a melee. Willie’s great sense evaded what could have erupted right into a riot.

Tom Seaver stated Mays to be the just position player the asked him just how he to be going to key opposing batters as soon as they played together for the Mets. The 1965 documentary A male Named Mays is fascinating to watch. It mirrors a player the is articulate through a great sense of humor.

9. That Is Barry Bond's Godfather

Willie played with Barry’s dad Bobby bond in the so late 1960s and also early 1970s. Bobby to be a phenom with the Giants who regularly had 30 house runs and 30 steals in a season. His young kid Barry would hang around the clubhouse and play record with Willie prior to games. Mays supported Barry Bonds v his steroid accusations and has never ever said anything negative about him.


10. He to be Banned from major League Baseball

It appears unthinkable now, however Commissioner Bowie Kuhn prohibition Willie from baseball in 1979 for accepting a job with Bally’s resort as a casino greeter. Kuhn to be worried about the integrity of the game and didn’t desire anyone from major League Baseball to associate with arranged gambling. Thus decision, Willie lost his former office project with the brand-new York Mets.

Mickey Mantle was also banished because that a comparable job with an additional casino. Thankfully, Willie was reinstated to the game in 1985 as soon as Kuhn was replaced as the Commissioner that Baseball through Peter Ueberroth.

I come away from the book Willie Mays: The Life, The Legend by James Hirsch v a much higher appreciation because that Willie Mays together a player and also a person. Countless times once I review a biography, I finish up liking the player much less when I’m finished. However, in this book, Willie comes throughout as a gentle spirit who is smart, articulate, and also funny. He was criticized for no being more vocal for the civil legal rights movement, however it just wasn’t in his nature. He wanted to lead by example. Ns strongly introduce this publication for anyone interested in baseball.

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