Arguably the greatest living baseball legend, Willie Mays, who was nicknamed the Say Hey Kid, turns 89 today.
Mays made his Major League debut on May 25, 1951, at the age of 20, with the New York Giants. He played his final game with the Mets on September 9, 1973.
In the 22-year span, Mays was named 1951 Rookie of the Year and was a 24-time All-Star and 12-time Gold Glove winner. He was also a two-time MVP. Mays was a member of the 1954 World Series champion Giants team.
After 21 seasons with the Giants (in New York and San Francisco), Mays spent two seasons with the New York Mets.His career numbers include 3,283 hits, 660 home runs and an impressive career batting average of .302. He had eight separate seasons with at least 180 hits. His career fielding percentage is a staggering .981.
Mays was very versatile, too. While he spent much of his career as a centerfielder, he also had stints at first base, third base, and shortstop.
All of these accolades are overshadowed by his over-the-shoulder catch on a fly ball that no one thought he would get to. This play still remains arguably the greatest catch in Major League Baseball history.
Mays was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in 1979. His No. 24 jersey is retired by both the Giants and Mets.
Mays is the godfather of former teammate Bobby Bonds, who is marred by his speculated steroid use but still regarded as one of the best hitters of his era, just like his godfather.
Happy 89th birthday to Say Hey Kid, a true living legend.