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January 1, MLB Mourns Passing of Iconic Forever Giant: Remembering Legendary Willie Mays



MLB legend Willie Mays, the “Say Hey Kid,” passed away at the age of 93, the San Francisco Giants announced. “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 Giants said in a statement.

Michael Mays, Willie’s son, added, “My father has passed away peacefully and among loved ones. 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.”

Mays began his career in 1951 as a 20-year-old playing for the New York Giants. He caught the eyes of MLB teams while playing in the Negro American League with the Birmingham Black Barons. Mays went on to be a 24-time All-Star, two-time MVP, 12-time Gold Glover, two-time All-Star Game MVP, Rookie of the Year, and 1954 World Series champion, leading to an easy Hall of Fame induction.

Giants Chair Greg Johnson said, “Today we have lost a true legend. In the pantheon of baseball greats, Willie Mays’ combination of tremendous talent, keen intellect, showmanship, and boundless joy set him apart. A 24-time All-Star, the Say Hey Kid is the ultimate Forever Giant. He had a profound influence not only on the game of baseball but on the fabric of America.”

Mays was known for his ability to wow crowds with thunderous home runs, slick baserunning, and miraculous plays in center field. “The Catch” in the 1954 World Series is one of the most iconic plays in MLB history, where Mays made an over-the-shoulder catch and quickly threw the ball back in, preventing runners from advancing. The Giants won the game 5-2.

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said, “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. Willie Mays took his all-around brilliance from the Birmingham Black Barons of the Negro American League to the historic Giants franchise.”

Mays’ No. 24 was retired by the Giants, and he remains the franchise leader in numerous statistics. He ended his career with the New York Mets in 1973. Mays, who served in the Army in 1952 and 1953, was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama in 2015.

The Giants will announce a public celebration of Mays’ life at a later date. In the meantime, fans can send condolences to the Mays family care of the San Francisco Giants, attention Forever 24, 24 Willie Mays Plaza, San Francisco, CA 94107.

On Thursday, MLB will play a regular-season game at the historic Rickwood Field in Birmingham, Alabama, where Mays played his Negro League games with the Black Barons, between the Giants and St. Louis Cardinals. “Thursday’s game at historic Rickwood Field was designed to be a celebration of Willie Mays and his peers. With sadness in our hearts, it will now serve as a national remembrance of an American hero who will forever remain on the shortlist of the most impactful individuals our great game has ever known,” Manfred said.

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