San Francisco Giants Legend Willie Mays Dies at 93

Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images
Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images

San Francisco Giants legend Willie Mays died at age 93 on Tuesday, his family announced.

“My father has passed away peacefully and among loved ones,” Mays’ son, Michael Mays, said in a joint statement between the Giants and the Mays family. “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.”

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Mays died of heart failure, while Larry Baer, the president and chief executive of the Giants, said Mays died at an assisted living facility, according to The New York Times.

The 24-time all-star, known as the “Say-Hey Kid,” had a 22-year career spanning three teams and one World Series championship trophy.

Born in Westfield, Alabama, in 1931, Mays grew up in the Jim Crow South at the height of the Great Depression. Mays’ father, Willie Howard Mays Sr., nicknamed “Cat,” played in a local league, prompting Mays to pick up the bat, according to Mays’s autobiography.

Mays played in the Negro Leagues until he was drafted by the San Francisco Giants in 1951 where he earned the National League’s Rookie of the Year award.

Three years later, Mays would lead the New York Giants to a 4-0 World Series Victory against the Cleveland Indians.

Mays was voted the second-greatest player in baseball history behind Babe Ruth in an Associated Press poll in 1999 and then later in 2020 he was rated No. 1 by The Athletic’s Joe Posnanski.

During the Giants-Cubs Game on Tuesday afternoon, when the news was announced of Mays’ passing, commentator Jon Miller called the news “very sad.”

In the joint statement Giants Chairman 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.

“He was an inspiration and a hero who will be forever remembered and deeply missed.”

California Governor Gavin Newsom, meanwhile, said Mays broke “barriers and inspired millions of Americans—setting records, bringing joy to countless fans, and becoming a role model for a generation of future athletes.”

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