“Say ‘Willie’, that Giant’s Kid is Great!”

1954 Topps Willie Mays CardLast night, while I and other regulars at my local sports bar watched the Red Sox play the Toronto Blue Jays and the Florida Panthers play the Edmonton Oilers, we heard about the passing of baseball legend Willie Howard Mays Jr., at the age of 93.

None of us are old enough to have watched Willie “Say Hey!” Mays play in person – his last game was in 1973 with the NY Mets, long before most of us were even born – but as baseball fans we all knew the “Say Hey Kid” had talents which elevated him to the rarefied air occupied by such legendary outfielders as Ty Cobb, “Shoeless Joe” Jackson, Babe Ruth, Ted Williams, Jackie Robinson, Joe DiMaggio, Hank Aaron, Carl Yastremski, and Pete Rose, among others.

So, we paused to remember the greatest outfielder, and arguably the greatest player, in baseball history (unless you’re a Yankees fan ;-) ) And after a toast we went back to watching sports athletes others may idolize, talk about, and remember long after we’re gone.

While I’ll leave it to the baseball experts and pundits to memorialize Mays and wax nostalgically on his spectacular career, I couldn’t end my post without including the play that cemented Willie Mays’ place in sports history, simply known as “The Catch”:

During Game 1 of the 1954 World Series between the NY Giants and the Cleveland Indians Willie Mays made what many call “the greatest defensive play ever made” in baseball during the 8th inning of Game 1 of the World Series, September-29 1954 between the NY Giants and the Cleveland Indians:

His seemingly impossible, over-the-shoulder catch made just feet away from the center field wall during the game’s 8th inning prevented Cleveland from breaking a 2-2 tie, and the Giants went on to win the game 5-2 in the 10th inning thanks to Dusty Rhodes’ pinch-hit, three-run, walk off homer. The Giants won the Series in four games, beating the team with the American League’s best record.

Wille’s exceptional talents brought him so much fame he appeared in movies and even had a couple of catchy (pun intended) songs written about him.:


“Say Hey (The Willie Mays Song)” (Kleiner-Douglass-Warner),
sung by the Treniers w/ Willie Mays
(1954, Epic/Columbia Records, #5-9066)

“He runs the bases like a choo-choo train,
Swings around second like an aeroplane.
His cap flies off when he passes third,
And he heads home like an eagle bird.”


“Say Hey Willie Mays” (Willard Robison),
sung by the Singing Wanderers
(1954, Decca Records, #9-29230)

“Hey Willie, there’s a story told that we believe is true,
The Lord made you and lost the mold so there’s only one of you.
For a place in the Baseball Hall of Fame,
Scribes are writing down Willie’s name.
For he is a credit to our national game,
Glory to his name!”

Say Hey! Say Hey! Say Hey! Willie, Willie Mays!

Thanks for Reading! (and, “Say Hey!”)

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