Remembering Willie Mays

Jackie Robinson adn Willie Mays at Candlestick park - 1959 / Photo : Daniel Kanights

Willie Howard Mays, Jr., will always have a special place in our hearts for the magnificence he brought to America’s pastime and for his admirable self-confidence and strength of character. Mays’ dynamic play captivated fans and left even his fiercest rivals in awe. His 660 career home runs, 12 Golden Gloves, Rookie of the Year Award, double MVP title, 24-time All-Star standing and first-ballot Hall of Fame induction signify what an incredible offensive and defensive threat he was.

Said JRF board member and former National League President Leonard S. Coleman, Jr., “Willie of course was a phenomenal athlete. What also stood out for me was the passion he had for the game. He played baseball out of pure joy and was among the most exciting players to watch. He was a powerhouse in every aspect of the game and a man of character and good will. He will surely be missed.”

Jackie Robinson said of the ‘Say Hey Kid’, “[He is] the finest player in baseball. No one can play with that kid. He does everything well.” Robinson once lamented publicly that Mays was not a Brooklyn Dodger.

While Mays and Robinson would never become teammates, through the years they became and remained friends. Robinson was incensed in 1957 when Mays was unable to purchase a home in a white neighborhood in San Fransisco, treatment Robinson had experienced himself and about which he spoke publicly regarding Mays’ experience. And Mays was an honored guest at Robinson’s funeral in 1972.

Ever a man of grace and humility and a perpetual all-star in every way, the magnificent Willie Mays will indeed live forever in our hearts.

We extend our most heartfelt condolences to the family and many other loved ones of Willie Mays.