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Willie Mays Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trivia (38) | Personal Quotes (8)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 6 May 1931Westfield, Alabama, USA
Birth NameWillie Howard Mays
Nicknames The Say Hey Kid
Buck
Height 5' 11" (1.8 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Willie Mays was born on May 6, 1931 in Westfield, Alabama, USA as Willie Howard Mays. He was previously married to Mae Louise Allen and Margherite Wendell Chapman.

Spouse (2)

Mae Louise Allen (27 November 1971 - 19 April 2013) (her death)
Margherite Wendell Chapman (14 February 1956 - 1961) (divorced) (1 child)

Trivia (38)

Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, 1979. Played for the National League's New York/San Francisco Giants (1951-1972) and New York Mets (1972-1973).
Retired with 660 career home runs and a lifetime .302 batting average.
Traded to the New York Mets for pitcher Charlie Williams and cash in May of 1972, fulfilling a longtime ambition for Mets owner Joan Whitney Payson, herself a longtime admirer of Willie.
Passed the 3000-hit mark in July of 1970.
Hit four home runs in one game against the Milwaukee Braves in 1961.
Remembered for his over-the-shoulder catch of a Vic Wertz fly ball in Game One of the 1954 World Series.
Led the National League in stolen bases from 1956 thru 1959; was the first player to hit 30 home runs and steal 30 bases in the same season.
Moved into second place on the all-time home run list with his 535th homer in August of 1966; remained second behind Babe Ruth until Hank Aaron overtook him in 1972.
Hit the 500th home run of his career against Houston in September of 1965.
Was the National League's Rookie of the Year in 1951.
Was the National League's Most Valuable Player in 1954 and 1965.
Hit the 600th home run of his career against San Diego's Mike Corkins in September of 1969.
Spent most of 1952 and all of 1953 in military service.
Was called up by the Giants in May of 1951, at which point he was batting .477 for their AAA affiliate, the Minneapolis Millers. Told Giants manager Leo Durocher he wasn't coming because he felt he couldn't hit big league pitching. Was asked by Leo if he thought he could hit .250 for him, and when Willie said he thought he could, Leo told him to come up immediately.
Uniform #24 retired by the Giants; has been issued sparingly by the Mets since he left the organization.
Was forced to sever all ties with baseball by then-commissioner Bowie Kuhn after taking a job with the Bally Corporation; was reinstated by Kuhn's successor, Peter Ueberroth, in the mid-1980s.
Remained with the Mets as a coach after he retired, although his duties were never defined.
Hit his first major league home run off Warren Spahn at the Polo Grounds in New York.
Once hit a line drive so hard it went right through the outfield fence of a minor league ballpark in Milwaukee.
Is generally regarded as the greatest all-around baseball player of all time.
Became famous for catching fly balls using the waist-high or basket catch.
Godfather of Barry Bonds.
He won 12 Gold Gloves and appeared in a record-tying 24 All-Star games.
Mays deliberately set his hat on his head in a certain way so that it would always fall off when running at full speed.
San Francisco Giants All-Time Total Bases Leader (5,907).
San Francisco Giants All-Time Homerun Leader (646).
San Francisco Giants All-Time Hits Leader (3,187).
San Francisco Giants All-Time Doubles Leader (504).
San Francisco Giants All-Time Runs Leader (2,011).
San Francisco Giants All-Time Games Played Leader (2,857).
San Francisco Giants All-Time At Bats Leader (10,477).
Member of 1951 National League Champion New York Giants team. Member of 1954 World Series Champion New York Giants team. Member of 1962 National League Champion San Francisco Giants team. Member of 1971 National League Western Division Champion San Francisco Giants team. Member of 1973 National League Champion New York Mets team.
Was recently passed by godson Barry Bonds in the number of career home runs.
He was the ninth player to be so elected to the Major League Baseball's Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility with 95% of votes cast. Of the five percent of baseball writers who didn't to vote for Mays, Dick Young wrote, "If Jesus Christ were to show up with his old baseball glove, some guys wouldn't vote for him. He dropped the cross three times, didn't he?"
Made major league debut on 25 May 1951.
His first career Major League home run went completely out of the Polo Grounds which had never been done before. When asked about the pitch he threw that Mays hit out, Warren Spahn (who was sixty feet, six inches away on the pitchers mound) responded, "Gentlemen, for the first 60' that was a hell of a pitch.".
In 1959, earning $80,000 per year playing for the San Francisco Giants, Mays lived on a modest $300 per week budget. The remainder went to taxes and investments.
Found out he was being called up to the major leagues on May 12, 1951 when he was at a movie theater in Sioux City, Iowa and a message flashed up on the screen that said 'Willie Mays call your hotel'.

Personal Quotes (8)

I don't compare 'em. I catch 'em.
I remember the last season I played. I went home after a ballgame one day, lay down on my bed, and tears came to my eyes. How can you explain that? You cry because you love her. I cried, I guess, because I loved baseball and I knew I had to leave it.
Youngsters of Little League can survive under-coaching a lot better than over-coaching.
You know, a lot of people said when I was forty, I should quit, but I don't think so. You should play as long as you can and as long as you enjoy the game. In '73, I wasn't enjoying the game, so I quit in May, I retired, and they wouldn't let me retire. So I finished up in the World Series. But I say to players: Play as long as you can, because you only have one chance.
Over the years, a lot of organizations have asked me to be their spokesman, or have wanted me to make speeches about my experiences as a black athlete, or to talk to Congressmen about racial issues in sports. But see, I never recall trouble. I believe I had a happy childhood. Besides playing school sports, we'd play football against the white kids. And we thought nothing of it, neither the blacks nor the whites. ... I never got into a fight that was caused by racism.
Every time I look at my pocketbook, I see Jackie Robinson.
Baseball is a game, yes. It is also a business. But what it most truly is is disguised combat. For all its gentility, its almost leisurely pace, baseball is violence under wraps.
My father told me that I was able to walk when I was only six months old. And wouldn't you know it, he got me walking after a baseball. Getting a baseball was just about the first thing I was able to do. He put two chairs close to each other and then put a baseball on one. I was clinging to the other. He walked me through two or three times. 'See the ball," he said. 'See the ball.' Then he turned me loose - and I went for the ball myself. When he knew I could chase a ball, he gave me batting lessons. He handed me a rubber ball and a little stick maybe two feet long, and sat me in the middle of the floor. I'd play with the ball all day long, hitting it with the stick, then crawling or toddling after it across the room. My dad was determined that if I wanted to, I would become a baseball player and not end up in the steel mills the way he did.

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