Mays, Willie

▪ American baseball player
in full  Willie Howard Mays , byname  the “Say Hey Kid” 
born May 6, 1931, Westfield, Alabama, U.S.
 
 American professional baseball player who was exceptional at both batting and fielding. Mays played in major league baseball very soon after the colour bar ended, and he probably never received the respect due him based upon his skills. He is considered by many to have been the best all-around player in the history of baseball.

      Both Mays's father and his grandfather had been baseball players. Willie Mays, who batted and fielded right-handed, played semiprofessional baseball when he was 16 years old and joined the Birmingham Black Barons of the Negro National League (Negro league) in 1948, playing only on Sunday during the school year. The National League New York Giants paid the Barons for his contract when he graduated from Fairfield Industrial High School in 1950. After two seasons in the minor leagues, Mays went to the Giants in 1951 and was named Rookie of the Year at the end of that season—one legendary in baseball. The Giants were far behind the Brooklyn Dodgers in the pennant race. With the great play of Mays and others, the Giants tied the Dodgers in the standings on the last day of the season, and a three-game playoff for the National League championship was won with a home run, known as “the shot heard 'round the world,” hit by the Giants' Bobby Thomson.

 Mays became known first for his spectacular leaping and diving catches before he established himself as a hitter. He served in the army (1952–54), and upon his return to baseball in the 1954 season, when the Giants won the National League pennant and the World Series, Mays led the league in hitting (.345) and had 41 home runs. In 1966 his two-year contract with the Giants (who had moved to San Francisco in 1958) gave him the highest salary of any baseball player of that time. He was traded to the New York Mets midseason in 1972 and retired after the 1973 season. Late in his career he played in the infield, mainly at first base. His career home run total was 660 and his batting average .302. Mays had 3,283 hits during his career, which made him one of the small group of players with more than 3,000 career hits. He led the league in home runs in 1955, 1962, and 1964–65, won 12 consecutive Gold Gloves (1957–68), and appeared in 24 All-Star Games.

      After retiring as a player, Mays was a part-time coach and did public relations work for the Mets. In 1979 Mays took a public relations job with a company that was involved in gambling concerns, with the result that he was banned from baseball-related activities just three months after being elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York. In 1985 the ban was lifted, and in 1986 Mays became a full-time special assistant to the Giants. His autobiography, Say Hey (1988), was written with Lou Sahadi.

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Universalium. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Mays, Willie Howard,Jr. — Mays (māz), Willie Howard, Jr. Known as “the Say Hey Kid.” Born 1931. American baseball player. An exciting outfielder, base runner, and hitter primarily for the New York and San Francisco Giants (1951 1972), he hit 660 home runs. * * * …   Universalium

  • Mays, Willie (Howard) — born May 6, 1931, Westfield, Ala., U.S. U.S. baseball player. Mays played for the Birmingham Black Barons in the National Negro League when he was only 16. The Say Hey Kid later played principally for the New York (later San Francisco) Giants in… …   Universalium

  • Mays, Willie (Howard) — (n. 6 may. 1931, Westfield, Ala., EE.UU.). Beisbolista estadounidense. Jugó en los Birmingham Black Barons de la Liga Negra Nacional cuando tenía sólo 16 años. Jugó después en los New York (más tarde San Francisco) Giants de las grandes ligas… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Willie Mays — Nr. 24 Center Fielder …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Mays — Mays, Willie (1931 ) a US ↑baseball player who was one of the greatest ever. He joined the New York Giants in 1951 and played for them for many years. In 1964 he became the first black player to be made ↑captain of a team in the Major Leagues. He …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Willie Mays — For other people named William Mays, see William Mays (disambiguation). Willie Mays Center fielder Born: May 6, 1931 ( …   Wikipedia

  • Willie Mays — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Mays. Willie Mays …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Willie Mays — Este artículo o sección sobre biografías y deporte necesita ser wikificado con un formato acorde a las convenciones de estilo. Por favor, edítalo para que las cumpla. Mientras tanto, no elimines este aviso puesto el 5 de agosto de 2007. También… …   Wikipedia Español

  • Mays — noun United States baseball player (born in 1931) • Syn: ↑Willie Mays, ↑Willie Howard Mays Jr., ↑Say Hey Kid • Instance Hypernyms: ↑ballplayer, ↑baseball player * * * plural of may …   Useful english dictionary

  • Willie Howard Mays Jr. — noun United States baseball player (born in 1931) • Syn: ↑Mays, ↑Willie Mays, ↑Say Hey Kid • Instance Hypernyms: ↑ballplayer, ↑baseball player …   Useful english dictionary

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