This Day in Black History: May 6, 1931

Willie Mays

This Day in Black History: May 6, 1931

Retired Major League Baseball player Willie Mays was born on May 6, 1931.

Published May 6, 2014

Retired Major League baseball player Willie Howard Mays, also known as the Say Hey Kid, was born on May 6, 1931, in Westfield, Alabama. 

After playing for the Birmingham Black Barons from 1948 to 1960 when the Major League integrated its teams, Mays spent the majority of his career playing center field for the New York Giants and the San Francisco Giants before ending his career with the New York Mets in 1973. 

His enthusiasm and exuberance were undeniable as he excelled in all areas of the game, such as hitting for average and power, fielding, throwing and base running. Some of the outstanding statistics in Mays's staggering career include 660 home runs and 3,238 hits. His catching Vic Wert’z deep fly in the 1954 World Series Games remains one of baseball’s most memorable moments, according to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

The Giants superstar also earned two MVP Awards, National League Rookie of the Year in 1951, 12 Gold Gloves and played in a record-tying 24 All-Star games and four World Series. Fellow baseball legend Ted Williams once said, “They invented the All-Star Game for Willie Mays."

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

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(Photo: Kidwiler Collection/Diamond Images/Getty Images) 

Written by Patrice Peck


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