Willie Mays, Baseball Star Of Prodigious Power And Grace, Dies At 93

By \Washington Post

Willie Mays, a perennial all-star center fielder for the New York and San Francisco Giants in the 1950s and ’60s whose powerful bat, superb athletic grace and crafty baseball acumen earned him a place with Babe Ruth atop the game’s roster of historic greats, died June 18. He was 93.

The San Francisco Giants announced his death on social media but did not provide other details. Mr. Mays was the oldest living member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

“If there was a guy born to play baseball,” Boston Red Sox legend Ted Williams, one of his 1950s contemporaries, said late in life, “it was Willie Mays.”

With such demigods as Jackie Robinson and Hank Aaron, Mr. Mays, from Jim Crow-era Alabama, was one of the earliest Black players to reach exalted heights in the formerly segregated major leagues. His body of work from 1951 to 1973 included 660 home runs — then the third most of all time — despite a nearly two-year absence for military service.

Baseball has had 150-plus players with higher career batting averages than Mr. Mays’s. There have been swifter base runners and a few more-prolific sluggers over the decades. But Mr. Mays could do it all: The record book says no one showcased a more formidable combination of power, speed, arm strength, wizardry with a glove and steady hitting than No. 24 of the Giants, whom many regard as the best defensive center fielder ever.

Most devotees of hardball history consider Mr. Mays second to Ruth in the game’s pantheon. Some rank Mr. Mays ahead of Ruth, an ace pitcher turned outfielder for the New York Yankees who revolutionized the sport with his titanic bat in the Jazz Age. Advocates for Mr. Mays argue that Ruth didn’t possess Mr. Mays’s all-around skills and never had to compete against Black major leaguers…READ MORE

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