Who Was Willie Mays? 5 Things to Know About the Late Baseball Player

Image Credit: Getty Images

Willie Mays will always be known as one of the GOATs in baseball. Known as the “Say Hey Kid” in the MLB, the late San Francisco Giant died at the age of 93 in June 2024. The team confirmed the news of his death in a statement shared to social media.

“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 tweeted on June 18.

Former president Barack Obama — who awarded Mays with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015 — also paid tribute to the late baseball player.

“Willie Mays wasn’t just a singular athlete, blessed with an unmatched combination of grace, skill and power,” Obama tweeted. “He was also a wonderfully warm and generous person — and an inspiration to an entire generation. I’m lucky to have spent time with him over the years, and Michelle and I send our deepest condolences to his family.”

Learn more about Mays, his life and career below.

Getty Images

Mays Played for the Giants for 20+ Years

From 1951 through 1972, Mays played for the Giants, who were first known as the New York Giants before they relocated to San Francisco. For most of his prominent career, the Alabama native was a center fielder.

He Was a NY Met

After leaving the Giants in 1972, Mays played for the New York Mets from 1972 to 1973.

Mays Made ‘The Catch’ in 1954

In game 1 of the 1954 World Series, Mays made what’s considered the most iconic catch — dubbed “the catch” — in baseball history. During the eighth inning, Mays made an over-the-shoulder catch in the outfield, then threw the ball back to the infield fast enough to prevent Cleveland from scoring.  After playing extra innings, the Giants won the game.

His Real Name Was Willie, Not William

Despite how Willie is a popular nickname and abbreviation for William, Mays’ real name was, in fact, Willie. Throughout his baseball career, Mays earned the nickname, “The Say Hey Kid.”

Mays Was Married Twice

In 1956, Mays married Marghuerite Wendell Chapman, and the former spouses adopted a son named Michael. Mays and Chapman divorced in 1963.

Less than a decade later, Mays married second wife Mae Louise Allen. In 1997, she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease, and she died in 2013.

Sourse: hollywoodlife.com

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