June 19, 2024

Giants Legend Willie Mays Dies at 93: Willie Mays, the center fielder thought to be baseball's greatest all-around player, died Tuesday at age 93. The Say Hey Kid had a career that began in the 1940s in the Negro Leagues, spent 21 seasons with the New York and San Francisco Giants, and ended with the New York Mets in 1973. He was the rare great hitter who loved fielding as much if not more. "Don't get me wrong: I like to hit," he said in 1955. "But there's nothing like getting out there in the outfield, running after a ball and throwing somebody out trying to take that extra base."

posted by BornIcon to baseball at 10:54 AM - 7 comments

Does anyone have memories of seeing Mays as a player at his games? My baseball memories begin in 1974 when the Texas Rangers had an infield of Mike Hargrove-Dave Nelson-Toby Harrah-Lenny Randle and Jeff Burroughs became the MVP. So I knew Mays as one of the greats of the game but never got to see him except in past highlights.

posted by rcade at 10:58 AM on June 19, 2024


posted by tommybiden at 06:51 PM on June 19, 2024

I saw him a fair amount, but he was past his prime. And back then, you couldn't just hop online to watch clips of his greatness. The footage was buried in vaults at that point.

He was in the 1973 World Series with the Mets and he had very few appearances. He should have probably retired by that point.

Every kid knew who he was when I was in elementary school. He did some PSA's about blasting caps which we didn't even know existed. But it was Willie Mays, so we paid attention.

There is something about the old Polo Grounds that I find haunting and alluring. I'd give anything to go back in time to see the NY Giants play a game there with the young Willie Mays in his ascendancy.

posted by beaverboard at 08:14 PM on June 19, 2024

He smacked 660 HRs in his career, but easily could have had more than Babe Ruth had he not lost the better part of two seasons to military service.

posted by NoMich at 08:30 PM on June 19, 2024

Here we go: Willie Mays Blasting Caps Spot.

posted by Ufez Jones at 10:42 AM on June 20, 2024

This brings up several questions:

- Was there an epidemic of kids blowing themselves up with dynamite and blasting caps back in the day? If so, how did beaverboard survive? You just know that homeboy here would've played with that stuff all day long.
- What law did Willie break to have to be involved with this PSA? Was he caught playing with dynamite and blasting caps? (In case you don't know, when a star gets busted for something small, the punishment is to just do some sort of service like being in a PSA. Like when Neil Diamond got busted for pot.)

posted by NoMich at 11:20 AM on June 20, 2024

I was a kid in South Florida when the Willie Mays PSA's were on the air. Nobody was blasting anything in my world. (Except secret paramilitary groups far out in the nameless scrub that were training to take the fight to Castro.) It's mostly just sandy soil. Everything's built on slab. No basements. The land is flat and level. You just clear off the overgrowth, smooth things out and pour concrete.

When developers and economic councils began marketing the Florida concept to impressionable people in other parts of the country, they realized early on that it would be even easier to build and deliver the Florida dream than it was to promise it. Especially if you were in a county with casually enforced substandard building codes.

posted by beaverboard at 11:08 PM on June 20, 2024

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