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Willie Mays, Giants Legend 'Say Hey Kid' and Baseball Icon, Dead at 93

Willie Mays, Giants Legend ‘Say Hey Kid’ and Baseball Icon, Dead at 93

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Willie Mays, the iconic center fielder for the New York and San Francisco Giants whose extraordinary power and brilliance on the field won him two MVPs and the 1954 World Series, has died at the age of 93.

“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 San Francisco Giants shared on its official X account on Tuesday.

“My father has passed away peacefully and among loved ones,” Mays son, Michael Mays, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “I want to thank you all from the bottom of my broken heart for the unwavering love you have shown him over the years. You have been his life’s blood.”

In a statement, MLB Commissioner Robert D. Manfred, Jr. echoed what many fans of the game felt when first hearing the news: “All of Major League Baseball is in mourning today as we are gathered at the very ballpark where a career and a legacy like no other began.” The commissioner continued, “Willie inspired generations of players and fans as the game grew and truly earned its place as our National Pastime.”

In 1954, Mays led the Giants to victory in the World Series, making one of the most celebrated plays in the history of baseball with “The Catch” in the deep center field of the Polo Grounds in New York City.

The “Say Hey Kid,” (who got that name for his penchant for quipping “hey” when he had something to say) embodied the complete ballplayer and his electrifying presence made him one of the game’s most memorable stars. During his career, Mays garnered two MVPs, winning in 1954 and 1965, and was a 24-time All-Star. On Aug. 27, 1963, he hit his 400th home run in Houston’s Astrodome, and on Sept. 22, 1969, Mays hit his 600th home run during a game against the San Diego Padres — joining the elite 600-homer club.

In 1979, during his first year of eligibility, he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame. The baseball icon finished his illustrious 22-year MLB career with 660 home runs and 3,283 hits.

ESPN placed him at Number 8 on its list of the 100 greatest athletes of the 20th century in 1999, following fellow greats Michael Jordan, Babe Ruth, Muhammad Ali, Jim Brown, Wayne Gretzky, Jesse Owens, and Jim Thorpe. 

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In 2015, then-President Barack Obama recognized Mays’ impact and awarded him the nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom. When introducing the baseball legend, Obama said, “It’s because of giants like Willie that someone like me could even think about running for president.”

Mays was a beloved icon from coast to coast and spent six years of his playing career in New York and 15 in San Francisco.



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