Willie Mays, whose unmatched collection of skills made him the greatest center fielder who ever lived, died Tuesday afternoon in the Bay Area. He was 93.

"My father has passed away peacefully and among loved ones," Michael Mays said in a statement released by the San Francisco Giants. "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."


The "Say Hey Kid" left an indelible mark on the sport, with his name a constant throughout baseball's hallowed record book and his defensive prowess -- epitomized by "The Catch" in Game 1 of the 1954 World Series -- second to none.

The Giants center fielder, with his signature basket catch, was one of the game’s greatest and most beloved players.


All told, in a career that spanned 20-plus years (1951-73) -- most of them with his beloved Giants -- he made 24 All-Star teams, won two National League MVP awards and had 12 Gold Gloves. He ranks sixth all time in home runs (660), seventh in runs scored (2,068), 12th in RBIs (1,909) and 13th in hits (3,293).

Mays' death comes two days before the Giants are set to play the St. Louis Cardinals at Rickwood Field in Birmingham, Alabama, in a game honoring Mays and the Negro Leagues as a whole.


The New York Giants caught wind of Mays and purchased his contract from Birmingham in 1950. Mays had no trouble acclimating, batting .353 in 81 games with Trenton that season.

In 1951, Mays broke out with the Triple-A Minneapolis Millers; he batted .477 in 35 games before the Giants recalled him in May.


At age 20, Mays was the 10th Black player in major league history.

KSOO-AM / ESPN Sioux Falls logo
Get our free mobile app

There is much more to this story from ESPN's Jesse Rogers, here.

LOOK: MLB history from the year you were born

Stacker compiled key moments from Major League Baseball's history over the past 100 years. Using a variety of sources from Major League Baseball (MLB) record books, the Baseball Hall of Fame, and audio and video from events, we've listed the iconic moments that shaped a sport and a nation. Read through to find out what happened in MLB history the year you were born.

Gallery Credit: Seth Berkman

More From KSOO-AM / ESPN Sioux Falls