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Willie Mays: The Life, The Legend

Biography of Willie Mays by James S. Hirsch

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A wonderful, long-overdue . . .

  • Apr 6, 2010
  • by
. . . critical biography of one of the greatest and most beloved baseball players of all time -- Willie Mays!

"Willie Mays: The Life, The Legend" is an extremely well-written, meticulously researched biography which traces the life of the "Say Hey" kid from his youth in (heavily) segregated Birmingham, AL, through his meteoric rise through the Negro and Minor Leagues, and his Major League career (in great detail). This book, while technically an "authorized biography", written with the full approval and cooperation of Mays, is not a "puff piece". The author deals with various character flaws (both perceived and real) along with various controversies in which Mays was sometimes embroiled.

Any serious baseball historian, or Giants fan, or someone interested in the struggles of African-American ballplayers, or lover of well-written biography in general will thoroughly enjoy this book.

Highly Recommended!

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More Willie Mays: The Life, The Leg... reviews
review by . March 26, 2010
   As a true baseball fan and a child of the 60's I loved this book packed with such intricate detail and Willie expressions.  The reader gets a great understanding as to Willie the man and why he is so softspoken.   Willie's personality somewhat reminded me of how Lou Gerhig was portrayed in Pride of the Yankees. Having known practically nothing about Willie's pre-Giant days I really enjoyed tales of how he juggled his high school studies with playing on traveling teams …
review by . March 19, 2010
Almost three decades after they retired from baseball and after a black man has been elected president of the United States, it is sometimes difficult to remember what players such as Willie Mays and Hank Aaron went through. They started playing in the segregated Negro Leagues and were pioneers in the integration of baseball and American society. Through their careers, they saw opportunities open up for black players as coaches, managers and executives. Yet, as late at the middle 1980's baseball …
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David Zampino ()
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About this book


Authorized by Willie Mays and written by a New York Times bestselling 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 ...

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ISBN-10: 1416547908
ISBN-13: 978-1416547907
Author: James S Hirsch
Genre: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Sports
Publisher: Scribner
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