Willie Mays

Born:     May 6, 1931
Birthplace:   Westfield, AL
Zodiac Sign:  Taurus

Career

Willie Howard Mays, Jr. (born May 6, 1931), nicknamed "The Say Hey Kid", is an American former Major League Baseball (MLB) center fielder who spent almost all of his 22-season career playing for the New York/San Francisco Giants, before finishing with the New York Mets. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979.

Mays won two National League (NL) Most Valuable Player (MVP) awards, he ended his career with 660 home runs—third at the time of his retirement and currently fifth all-time—and won a record-tying 12 Gold Glove awards beginning in 1957, when the award was introduced.

Mays shares the record of most All-Star Games played with 24, with Hank Aaron and Stan Musial. In appreciation of his All-Star record, Ted Williams said "They invented the All-Star Game for Willie Mays."


Mays' career statistics and his longevity in the pre-performance-enhancing drugs era have drawn speculation that he may be the finest five-tool player ever, and many surveys and expert analyses, which have examined Mays' relative performance, have led to a growing opinion that Mays was possibly the greatest all-around offensive baseball player of all time. In 1999, Mays placed second on The Sporting News's "List of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players", making him the highest-ranking living player. Later that year, he was also elected to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. Mays is one of five National League players to have had eight consecutive 100-RBI seasons, along with Mel Ott, Sammy Sosa, Chipper Jones, and Albert Pujols. Mays hit over 50 home runs in 1955 and 1965, representing the longest time span between 50-plus home run seasons for any player in Major League Baseball history. His final Major League Baseball appearance came on October 16 during Game 3 of the 1973 World Series.

Personal Life and Family

 

Mays was born in 1931 in Westfield, Alabama, a former primarily black settlement near Fairfield. His father, Cat Mays, was a talented baseball player with the Negro team for the local iron plant. His mother, Annie Satterwhite, was a gifted basketball and track star in high school. His parents never married. As a baby, Mays was cared for by his mother's younger sisters Sarah and Ernestine. Sarah became the primary female role model in Mays' life. At age 3 Mays' parents separated. Though his mother later remarried, his father took in a set of older orphan girls to help with raising young Willie. Mays always saw these two as his aunts. His father exposed him to baseball at an early age, and by the age of five he was playing catch with his father. At age 10, Mays was allowed to sit on the bench of his father's League games.

Mays played multiple sports at Fairfield Industrial High School, averaging a then-record 17 points a game in basketball and more than 40 yards a punt in football, while also playing quarterback. Mays graduated from Fairfield in 1950.

Mays married Marghuerite Wendell Chapman (1926–2010) in 1956, and they adopted their son Michael, who was born in 1959. The couple divorced in 1962 or 1963, varying by source. Mays married Mae Louise Allen in November 1971; she died on April 19, 2013, after a long battle with Alzheimer's disease. As of 2000, Mays lived in Atherton, California, in a house he bought in 1969.

Paul's brother, C.J., played college basketball at Hampton University and University of South Carolina Upstate. In 2004, they played against each other when Wake Forest had a preseason exhibition with USC-Upstate. C.J. now works as Chris's personal manager. Paul is close friends with footballer Reggie Bush; the two lived in the One River Place complex in the New Orleans Central Business District while Bush was playing for the Saints. They also shared a personal chef.

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