Authorized by Willie Mays and written by a New York Times best-selling author, this is the definitive biography of one of baseball's immortals.
Considered to be "as monumental -- and enigmatic -- a legend as American sport has ever seen" (Sports Illustrated), Willie Mays is arguably the greatest player in baseball history, still revered for the passion he brought to the game. He began as a teenager in the Negro Leagues, became a cult hero in New York, and was the headliner in Major League Baseball's bold expansion to California. With 3,283 hits, 660 home runs, and 338 stolen bases, he was a blend of power, speed, and stylistic bravado that enraptured fans for more than two decades. Now, in the first biography authorized by and written with the cooperation of Willie Mays, James Hirsch reveals the man behind the player.
Willie is perhaps best known for "The Catch" -- his breathtaking over-the-shoulder grab in the 1954 World Series. But he was a transcendent figure who received standing ovations in enemy stadiums and who, during the turbulent civil rights era, urged understanding and reconciliation. More than his records, his legacy is defined by the pure joy that he brought to fans and the loving memories that have been passed to future generations so they might know the magic and beauty of the game. With meticulous research, and drawing on interviews with Mays himself as well as with close friends, family, and teammates, Hirsch presents a complex portrait of one of America's most significant cultural icons.
©2010 James S Hirsch (P)2010 Simon & Schuster
This is a great read. All of Wily's career was in my lifetime and I am a New Yorker so that may taint my view. But, the story is remarkable and well written. Mays was an inspiration during his carer and this book should an inspiration to anyone trying to navigate through life'ss minefields. Even as a Broooklyn Dodger fan, I loved to see Willy Mays play with the NY Giants. He was one of the few ballplayers that was universally loved by all fans. This book is an outstanding tribute to the man and a good glimpse into the business of baseball before multi-million dollar contracts.
Well, this was a good story. I am not big sports fan, but I enjoy reading about the greats of the games (football, golf, baseball, etc) I even remember watching Willie Mays on tv as a kid. So, this was a nice story about a boy from the sticks making it in the big time. But it is a bit hindered by Mays' apparent reticence in talking about himself and where he came from. There is quite a bit about the numbers set out by year; the trophies, the amazing plays; but not so much about his relationship with others. It was a very sympathetic biography, and I enjoyed it; I just wanted a bit more. . . I mean, not scandals, or anything, just sorta felt like I was looking at Mays through the window and never actually got to meet the man.
I thought that this book was well written and narrated. Besides providing a chronological detail of Mays' life it really shed great light on what it was like for minority ballpayers who grew up in the era of seggregation and who came to the majors just after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier in baseball. I always respected Willie Mays for what he accomplished "on the field" during his career. I have a greater respect for him and understanding of him after reading this book. Overall- an excellent book and a worthwhile listen
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