Willie Mays, Baseball Hall of Famer and Giants Legend, Dies at Age 93

Giants legend Willie Mays speaks at the ceremony to retire the No. 25 jersey of his godson, Barry Bonds, in 2018.
Giants legend Willie Mays speaks at the ceremony to retire the No. 25 jersey of his godson, Barry Bonds, in 2018. / D. Ross Cameron-USA TODAY Sports

The baseball world lost one of its legends on Tuesday afternoon.

Willie Mays, one of the greatest players in the history of baseball, died Tuesday at the age of 93.

“My father has passed away peacefully and among loved ones," Mays's son, Michael Mays, said in a statement. "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.”

Nicknamed the "Say Hey Kid," Mays played for the Birmingham Black Barons of the Negro American League as a teenager until he signed with the New York Giants in 1951.

Over 23 seasons in the big leagues—21 of them with the Giants—Mays batted .301/.384/.557 with 660 home runs and 1,909 RBIs. He ranks sixth on the all-time home run leaderboard behind his godson Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755), Babe Ruth (714) and Alex Rodriguez (696).

Mays was a 24-time All-Star—the second-most in MLB history—as well as a 12-time Gold Glove outfielder, the 1951 Rookie of the Year and two-time NL MVP, winning in 1954 and '65.

As a 23-year-old in 1951, Mays helped the Giants sweep the Cleveland Indians in four games to win the World Series. He also made perhaps the most famous catch in baseball history in Game 1 of that series, robbing Vic Wertz of an extra-base hit with an over-the-shoulder catch in deep center field.

Mays was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility in 1979.

The Giants and St. Louis Cardinals will square off Thursday in a game played at Rickwood Field, a park in Birmingham, Ala., where Mays grew up playing. MLB planned to honor Mays at the event before the news of his death.


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Tom Dierberger

TOM DIERBERGER

Tom Dierberger is a staff writer and editor on the Breaking and Trending News team at Sports Illustrated. He joined SI in November 2023 after stints at FOX Sports, Bally Sports and NBC Sports. Dierberger has a bachelor's in communication from St. John's University. In his spare time, he can be seen throwing out his arm while playing fetch with his dog, Walter B. Boy.