"I don't make history, I catch flyballs."

- Willie Mays

"He should play in handcuffs."

- A Sports Writer on Willie Mays

Position: OF, 1B
Born: 5/6/1931, Westfield, Alabama
Debut: May 1951, New York Giants
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Ht: 5'11" Wt: 180

Some Pictures with Willie:

Another Willie Mays Page
Total Baseball's Willie Mays Page

If you have any great stories/memories about Willie Mays please mail me or use this form and I will add them to this page.

Memories of Willie

I saw Mays' 563rd career homerun at Shea Stadium and afterwards a guy behind me in the stands spilled beer all over my Giant's Pennant which I still have today.

-Greg Jezewski

My brother Guy and I were raised in San Leandro, East Bay. He taught me everything about baseball and we never missed a Giant's game on the radio. For my 16th birthday he took me to a double header and for my 35th birthday he gave me an autographed 1963 Willie Mays Baseball Card. What a life time bond we share. Willie.

-Gail Henry

Willie Mays was one of my favorite players as a kid during the sixties. I didn't get to see him play very much (never in person, and rarely on televison). I lived near Pittsburgh and was, of course, a Pirate fan. Many an argument around my neighborhood about who the best outfielder was: Willie or Roberto Clemente. As a child, I only got to two ballgames (in Forbes Field). One of those times I was thrilled because the Bucs were hosting the Giants. Aniticpating seeing Mays on the field, I was disappointed to learn that he was not to be in the lineup that day. This was 1966, I think, and still rare that he was sitting out with an injury.

One of the best plays I ever saw, on the Game of the Week, was Mays racing toward the wall in right-center, narrowly missing Bobby Bonds, who was also in pursuit of the fly ball, smashing into the wall, and falling in a heap. If he wasn't temporarily unconscious, he sure looked it. Bonds took the ball out of Willie's glove and held it aloft. It was an amazing catch, especially for a 41-year-old!

-No name

Aaahhh, Willie! The best all-around ball player ever! I first saw him (and became aware of baseball!) in 1962. He was incredible! I would stand in front of my radio or TV and pretend I was him - swinging, catching, stealing a base. My dad took me to many Giants games, about 3 or 4 a year. In 1964, at the age of 10, we got to the ball park REALLY early on a school weekday. NO ONE was there except the players standing around their dugout before hitting practice. The usher asked me if I wanted to go get some autographs. I started to walk down there but chickened out about 20 seats away. I just stood there, frozen with fear and in awe. I saw Willie and watched him talk with his teammates. Then he looked up and saw me. Without stopping his conversation, he touched the bill of his cap, smiled and nodded at me. I was in heaven for the rest of the day!

-Michael Babayco

Another story I have of Willie was when I was in 6th grade. My 6th grade teacher was going to take our basketball team to the regional finals, treating us to the games and lunch and snacks. But, when I heard that Willie was going to hold a baseball clinic in my town, I quickly declined the basketball finals for a chance to see him in person. Even though there were probably over 300 kids at our local park that day, I fielded one of his grounders and even shook his hand! Again, I was floating on Cloud Nine for weeks!

-Michael Babayco

One more memory - it was the day he hit 4 homers in one game. My friends were giving me a bad time about my obsession of becoming the next Willie Mays. I kept trying to convince them that Willie was the best.No one gave in.... until the game came on the radio. Each homer made me stand a little taller and help to shake off the doubts. When he hit a 5th one that took the fielder to the warning path, i no one longer had any doubts that Willie was my man and that I wanted to grow up and play just like him! And some, not all of my friends, began to agree with me that day that Willie was the best.

-Michael Babayco

Back in the sixties the Giants and the Indians would wind up spring training by playing exibition games in California minor league ballparks. I lived in Modesto, California and skipped school on the day they were to play in my town. Mays started the ballgame and played several innings and was through for the day and went to the clubhouse.

I had a ball for autographs and headed for the clubhouse myself in hopes of getting my baseball hero's signature. I got there behind two young follows who had a recorder and asked if they could talk to Mays. He asked them what about and they replied they wanted to talk about integration. I had no idea what that was. He told them no and sent them away. My immediate reaction was "oh no, my hero is to good to talk to anybody and there is no way I am going to get an autograph."

After the two guys had left, Mays turned to me an asked me what I wanted. I timidly asked for an autograph. He very graciously said "sure kid" and I collected my prize.

-Ray Rasmussen

I actually have two Willie memories. In the 1960 All Star Game II on July 13, which was my 11th birthday, Willie singled up the middle to Mickey Mantle and when Mantle lingerly went after the ball, Mays shocked all the Yankee Stadium fans by hustling a sure single into a double. This in what was really an exhibition game. The second memory was seeing Willie play shortstop in the second game of the doubleheader on May 31, 1964 against the New York Mets. That was the 24 inning second game in a Giants' sweep of the Mets, a game in which Gaylord Perry established himself as a Major League pitcher. I will also always have a fond spot for Mays because he was my father's favorite player.

-Al Jenkins

Here's my Willie Mays story, but I don't that it will find its way onto your page. I was a Willie Mays fan for years . Some time ago I found a beautiful color photo of Willie at a collectors store and purchased it with the thought of getting Willie to sign it for me. I packed it up with a personal letter and sent it to him and received the following "price list" in response. Willie would sign my photo for $40, plus $10 s&h. If I wanted it personalized it would cost me another $50. That's $100 for an autographed photo that I was supplying! I am disgusted with the commercialism of today's athlete, and believed that yesterday's ballplayer was a different type of person. Receiving this message back from Willie's "foundation" literally broke my heart. Mickey Mantle signed several items for me for free. Stan Musial and others have done likewise. I understand that former players must make ends meet as well, but this was excessive! My bubble has been popped!

Why should I pay $100 for an autograph when that equals a day's pay for me (and I must support a family). As I said, I doubt that this will find its way into your page, but unfortunately it's a true story. I'd be interested in your reply. Thanks for hearing me out. By the way, I stumbled across your page because I am researching a piece on the old television series Home Run Derby, of which Willie was a part. He seemed like more of a "real" person then. Thanks,

-Dave G

Watched on TV in Fall of '72 as Mays first at-bat as a met. He hit one out!

-Neal Goldner

Willie Mays hitting a baseball through the back of a wooden seat in the bleachers in a preseason exhibition game

-Bob Aglira

The catch in the 1954 WS against Cleveland on the ball hit by Vic Wertx.

-Carl Gramlick

I have a couple of stories to submit, one is Mays has gone hitless in his first 12 at bats. He comes up against Warren Spahn and hits a tremendous home run. Later after the game Spahn is asked about that pitch and said "it was a great pitch for the first sixty feet."

My other story comes from the video. Sal Maglie is replaced by Don Liddle, and Liddle gives up the shot to Vic Wertz that Mays somehow catches. After that Liddle is pulled I don't know who replaced Liddle but according to Bob Costas he said, " Well, I got my man."

-Matt Freeman

About l956 I saw a Giants/Dodgers game at Ebbetts Filed in Brooklyn where Willie hit two homeruns and two triples off of Don Drysdale in what was probably drysdales rookie year. He also stole two bases and came up with the bases loaded in the top of the 9th with the Giants behind 5-2 and grounded out to end the game...but what a night-- he was easily the greatest player of his era!!!!!!!!

-Bob Levy

When I was 12 and living in St. Louis, the Giants were playing the Cardinals and it was Willie's 38th birthday. In those days, everyone knew what hotel the players stayed in. I couldn't stay up late to call Willie after the game, but the next day when I went home for lunch. I dialed the hotel number, asked for "Mr. Mays" and in an instant, there he was on the phone. Trembling, in my 12-year-old voice, I told him that I just wanted to wish him a Happy Birthday. He was quite gracious and thanked me. Needless to say, I was floating on air when I went back to school that afternoon, and boy did I have a story to tell!

-Bill Bunkers

When I was a kid , I went to see the Giants play the Phillies at Connie Mack stadium, that was in 1969 . I,ll never forget that day for as long as I live, because that was the day I met my idol WILLIE MAYS.

Prior to the game the Phillies farm team from Reading were playing a exhibition game. On the Reading Phillies was a minor league player named Greg Luzinski, who fouled off a ball that I was lucky enough to scramble for and obtain. My uncle who played with Mays on the "50" Trenton Giants was in the locker room talking to him at the time. When he returned and said that Willie said that he could bring my dad , my friend and myself into the Giants locker room I was never so excited!

When I saw Willie standing there , he looked like a chiseled statue.He talked to us, sighed my ball and a poster I had with me,. I still have the ball and poster which has no price tag and to boot my uncle gave me a ball this weekend which the whole 1950 Trenton Giants team signed. I don,t collect baseball cards for the investment like alot of people today , because my collection was completed with a memory that will last forever!!! Thank you Willie and thank you uncle Harry ( Harry Wilson"50" Giants) SAY HEY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

-Ollie Wilson

I first became aware of baseball at the age of 7 at my uncle's house. My father and I walked in the door just in time to see Willie's famous catch in the '54 World Series. I was hooked. I was a Giants and Willie Mays fan ever since. I never got to see Willie play in NY, but I was in SF one day in April 1971, and I got to see Willie then. It was toward the end of his career. McCovey was hurt, and Willie was playing first base. It was a warm and sunny day, and I came down from our upper deck seats to get as close as I could behind the plate when Willie batted. On his first at-bat, Willie hit a line-drive home run. I think it was the first pitch to him. Later, he hit a ground rule double and stole third. The Giants beat the Cubs that day, and I got to see Willie at his best.

-Joey G

Three stories from games I attended. In 1965 when I was 9, my father took me to see Mays, who was my favorite player, for the first time at Shea Stadium. The Giants were in a heated race with the Dodgers and Marichal was on suspension from the Roseboro incident. In Willie's second at bat he went to deep center, and set a National League record with 17 home runs in one month.

The second story was in 1972, after Mays was traded to the Mets. It was his first game in a Met uniform, but he didn't play. Apparently the guy sitting behind me was inordinately frustrated, and took his anger out on a hot dog vendor who had given this guy's kid a hot dog that hadn't been wrapped in plastic. This fan, a man in his 30s or 40s who was wearing a suit, refused the vendor's ofer of a refund and wrestled with him in the aisle over this indignity and was ultimately removed from the Stadium in handcuffs in front of his kid.

The third story was from 1973. It was a Mets-Reds game in August, and Mays hit a shot to right center that was homer number 660 off of Don Gullett.

-David Berry

I have not shared this story with too many people simply because I have always been unsure of the exact dates. However, I have never forgotten. In 1973, I was 12, I was travelling to a Boy Scout National Jamboree in PA. Leaving our home town of Wichita, KS., we headed to St. Louis for our first stop. That night we were privillaged to attend what was my very first big league game. I remember waiting in eager anticipation to see WILLIE MAYS! When they finally put him in the game, it was late in the game, (I think). I believe he struck out. Then everything got really quite and a microphone came up from home plate and some guys in suits came out and surrounded Willie. I sat there amased as the anouncement was made that the Great Willie Mays would be retireing from baseball. I couldn't believe my ears. I believe there may have even been a tear in my eye as I left the stadium that night, knowing that I had just witnessed history, I would never forget. Thank you for having this page available, it has brought back some very fond memories that otherwise may not have been relived.

- Lonnie Hannah

I remember stories of Willie and his love for baseball, back in the good old days of NY GIANT baseball. It was said Willie loved the game so much that after the Giant game was over he could sometimes be found playing stickball with the neighnorhood kids. Of course back in those wonderful days of real baseball I didnt really appreciate Willie as I do now, you see I was a Brooklyn Dodger fan. Looking back with a little bit more objectivity I see Willie as one of the great treasures of the game. Thank you Willie for breaking my heart so many times against the Dodgers with your spectacular hitting and fielding.

- Jay Glassman

I am a National League fan (Cubs) who turned ten when Ralph Terry beat the Giants in the World Series. I have a son and a daughter, and I have told them there are three things they must understand about life:
    - only God can make a tree,
    - you don't need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows,
    - and Willie Mays is the greatest baseball player of all time.

Can someone tell me Willie's career record for putouts, and who is around him?

And most importantly, his quote at retirement. Wasn't it something like, "All I ever wanted to do was play baseball."

The first major league game I ever saw, my dad took me to Wrigley Field. After the game we saw Mays, Cepeda and McCovey just walking around outside on the street talking to people. I never realized how special that was at the time.

Thanks for this opportunity, go Cubs.

- Gary Coleman (ejcoleman@sprynet.com)

I'm 88 years old so I was lucky enought to see Ruth, Gehrig, Cobb, DiMaggio, Aaron, Robinson, Mantle and all of those greats. But to me none of them can compare to Willie. Of all the guys whom I've named none had the speed, power, glove, or flair that Willie had. Willie gave the fans a show. I grew up in New York so i always thought that no one could compare to Mickey Mantle. That was Until I went to San Francisco on a business trip and saw Willie play. Ever since that day, Mantle has been second on my list. That day Willie hit two home runs and had three, Yes three GREAT catches and he also managed to steal a base. I'd never seen a game like that. So no matter what anyone says, Willie Mays is and always be the best ever. He is and was the COMPLETE package.

- Calvin Henderson

One of my neighbors is former all-star(should be HOFer) Tony Oliva. I have spoken to him on several occasions about who was the greates ballplayer of all time. He always shakes his head and claims not to know. Ask Tony-O who the greates he ever saw, without hesitation he will always answer Willie Mays.

- Michael R. Murphy

Great page!! I went to my first major league game in 1962. I live in Idaho and my father took us down to see the big boys play. I was already a Mays fan, but that night he hit a late inning home run into a wind that could swallow up anything, but that line drive just kept going up and was at about 11 feet and still on the rise when it cleared the 10' wall. What a thrill! If you have access to archives, i would be interested if you could help me find a boxscore of that game.I think the final score was 5-4. It was in July or August, against the Milwaukee Braves. The starters were Marichal and Spahn (sounds like a hall of fame game. The next game was a day game which the Braves won 10-3 or close to that. The neat thing about that was that Aaron and Matthews homered, of course I didn't know they would also be hall of famers. On top of that the Giants had a new first baseman named McCovey, and I believe Burdette pitched the 2nd game.

- Hultz Farms

My father lived next to the Polo Grounds when he was a boy. He used to tell me Willie was the most exciting player he ever saw. Willie would go and and play with the kids stickball after a game. He could hit one 3 sewers long!!!

- Ethan Forbes

When Willie first came up to the major leagues, he did not have much convidence as we all remember him having, When Bobby Thompson hit "The shot heard round the world", Willie was in the on deck circle praying that he didnt have to come up to bat with the biggest game of his life on the line. As you all know, he went on to become the greatest baseball player ever. I think Leo Durochure said it best when he told reporters, "if someone batted .400, stole 100 bases, and performed a miracle in the field everyday, i would still look him in the eye and say Willie Mays was better."

- Derek Gray

My grandparents lived in the Highbridge section of the Bronx, right between Yankee Stadium on the Bronx side and the Polo Grounds on the Manhatten side. Every Sunday we had dinner at Grama's. You know how boring that can be for a kid,so my parents would let me go to the doubleheader for whichever team was in town, the Yanks or Giants. It was heaven to be a baseball fan in New York in those days.I could get in the bleachers for 50 cents and spend all day in paradise. The famous Polo Grounds clubhouse was in the middle of the bleachers and you could stand by the rail and get all the players to sign your program, even the "Say Hey Kid" himself. He was always gracious. O!! The thrill of seeing him run out from under his cap and slide hard into third in a cloud of dust.

- Bob Gruen

Growing up in the Bay Area, it was frustration after frustration to watch the wonderfully talented Giants teams fininsh second six years in a row. Even more than the awesome power of Willie McCovey and the fierce competitiveness of Juan Marichal, their consistent trademark was the excellence of Willie Mays and his almost God-like quality of appearing to be able to single-handedly improve any situation. He was such an idol to me it seemed if the Giants were down by five runs and Mays was coming up with the bases empty it would still be alright. That faith paid off in 1971 in the National League playoffs (finally!) when the Pirates were kicking our butt in Candlestick Park. My friend and I (cutting school for the day!) stuck around for the ninth inning despite a huge deficit because who knew? Mays was due up! In pure Mays style, Willie blasted the ball over the left field fence. You Can Tell It Goodbye!!! No, we didn't win...but that was Mays' last homerun as a Giant and that moment is frozen in my mind forever.

- Scott MacDonald

I was 17 driving home from school and I heard the Mets, my favorite team, had traded for Willie. I stopped the car in the middle of the road, got out, and jumped up an down in the street. That was a Friday; on the following Sunday he hit a pinch hit home run in the bottom of the ninth against his old team in his first at bat as a Met. As I sat in my grandmother's house in Bayonne watching it go over the wall on tv, I realized what a force he was and how fortunate I was, like my father before me, to be able to see him play for my home team.

- Bob Langton

Career Statistics:

Year     G    AB    R    H   2B   3B   HR   RBI   BB   SO   SB   CS   AVE   OBP   SLG
1951   121   464   59  127   22    5   20    68   57   60    7    4  .274  .356  .472
1952    34   127   17   30    2    4    4    23   16   17    4    1  .236  .326  .409
1954   151   565  119  195   33   13   41   110   66   57    8    5  .345  .415  .667
1955   152   580  123  185   18   13   51   127   79   60   24    4  .319  .404  .659
1956   152   578  101  171   27    8   36    84   68   65   40   10  .296  .371  .557
1957   152   585  112  195   26   20   35    97   76   62   38   19  .333  .411  .626
1958   152   600  121  208   33   11   29    96   78   56   31    6  .347  .423  .583
1959   151   575  125  180   43    5   34   104   65   58   27    4  .313  .385  .583
1960   153   595  107  190   29   12   29   103   61   70   25   10  .319  .386  .555
1961   154   572  129  176   32    3   40   123   81   77   18    9  .308  .395  .584
1962   162   621  130  189   36    5   49   141   78   85   18    2  .304  .385  .615
1963   157   596  115  187   32    7   38   103   66   83    8    3  .314  .384  .582
1964   157   578  121  171   21    9   47   111   82   72   19    5  .296  .384  .607
1965   157   558  118  177   21    3   52   112   76   71    9    4  .317  .399  .645
1966   152   552   99  159   29    4   37   103   70   81    5    1  .288  .370  .556
1967   141   486   83  128   22    2   22    70   51   92    6    0  .263  .336  .453
1968   148   498   84  144   20    5   23    79   67   81   12    6  .289  .376  .488
1969   117   403   64  114   17    3   13    58   49   71    6    2  .283  .365  .437
1970   139   478   94  139   15    2   28    83   79   90    5    0  .291  .395  .506
1971   136   417   82  113   24    5   18    61  112  123   23    3  .271  .429  .482
1972    88   244   35   61   11    1    8    22   60   48    4    5  .250  .400  .402
1973    66   209   24   44   10    0    6    25   27   47    1    0  .211  .304  .344

Total 2992 10881 2062 3283  523  140  660  1903 1464 1526  338  103  .302  .387  .557


© 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998 Jason Prothero