Baseball Icon Willie Mays Dies at 93

Rachel Acenas
By Rachel Acenas
June 18, 2024Sports News
Baseball Icon Willie Mays Dies at 93
Baseball Hall of Famer Willie Mays applauds as President Barack Obama welcomes the World Series Champion San Francisco Giants to the White House on June 4, 2015. (Win McNamee/Getty Images)

Iconic baseball legend Willie Mays has died at 93 years old, the San Francisco Giants announced Tuesday evening.

“It is with great sadness that we announce that San Francisco Giants Legend and Hall of Famer Willie Mays passed away peacefully this afternoon at the age of 93,” according to a statement by the Giants.

The outfielder began his baseball career with the Birmingham Black Barons of the Negro American League in 1948 when he was just 16 years old. He played with the Giants in New York and San Francisco and ended with the New York Mets in 1973.

Considered one of the greatest baseball players in the history of the sport, he retired after a 22-year Major League Baseball (MLB) career that included 660 home runs, the third most behind only Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron at the time of his retirement.

MLB also shared its sentiments about the baseball icon’s legacy, which spanned four decades.

“We are heartbroken to learn of the passing of Hall of Famer Willie Mays, one of the most exciting all-around players in the history of our sport,” the MLB said in a statement.

“Mays was a two-time MVP, 24-time All-Star, 12-time Gold Glove Award winner, and a recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom. In commemoration of ‘The Catch’ as perhaps the most famous play in the history of the Fall Classic, the World Series MVP Award was named in his honor in 2017,” the MLB said.

Widely regarded as the “Say Hey Kid,” the outfielder was known for his strength and skill, which showed in his ability to run, hit, field, and throw, all with power, grace, and speed.

ESPN in 1999 ranked the baseball icon No. 8 on its list of the 100 greatest athletes of the 20th century.

The Hall of Famer was honored by the White House in November 2015 with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the nation’s highest civilian award.

His death comes the day after the Giants released a statement that said the baseball icon could not attend the Giants game Thursday against the St. Louis Cardinals at Rickwood Field in Birmingham, Ala.

“I’d like to be there, but I don’t move as well as I used to,” Mr. Mays wrote in his letter shared with his fans before his passing.