Happy Birthday, Willie Mays

by Bill Chuck on May 6, 2013

Baseball’s greatest living ballplayer, Hall of Famer Willie Mays turns 82 years old years old today.

Willie Mays | July 26, 1954 Willie Mays | July 26, 1954

 

  • The Hall of Fame describes him this way: “Willie Mays, the ‘Say Hey Kid,’ played with enthusiasm and exuberance while excelling in all phases of the game — hitting for average and power, fielding, throwing and base running.”

Nine to Know

Quotes about Willie Mays

(thanks to Baseball-Almanac.com)

  1. “He was something like zero for twenty-one the first time I saw him. His first major league hit was a home run off me and I’ll never forgive myself. We might have gotten rid of Willie forever if I’d only struck him out.” – Braves Pitcher Warren Spahn (1951)
  2. “The only man who could have caught that ball just hit it.” – Common Radio Announcer Saying
  3. “There are 499 Major League ballplayers. Then there’s Willie Mays.” – SABR member
  4. “(Duke) Snider, (Mickey) Mantle and (Willie) Mays. You could get a fat lip in any saloon by starting an argument as to which was best. One point was beyond argument, though. Willie was by all odds the most exciting.” – Sportswriter Red Smith
  5. “I can’t very well tell my batters don’t hit it to him. Wherever they hit it, he’s there anyway.” – Gil Hodges
  6. “I’m not sure what the hell charisma is, but I get the feeling it’s Willie Mays.” – Ted Kluszewski
  7. “They invented the All-Star game for Willie Mays.” – Ted Williams
  8. “Willie Mays and his glove. Where triples go to die.” – Los Angeles Dodgers Executive Fresco Thompson
  9. “You used to think if the score was 5-0, he’d hit a five-run homer.” – Reggie Jackson

Also on this date: Babe Ruth of the Red Sox hit his major league first home run in a 4-3 loss to the New York Yankees at the Polo Grounds.

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