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Willie Mays: The Life, The Legend

Biography of Willie Mays by James S. Hirsch

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Outstanding Bio of the Most Talented Baseball Player of All Time!

  • Mar 26, 2010
  • by

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 and the Negro Leagues.  We learn about Cat Mays who may have been as talented as Willie, but lived in a era where blacks had no opportunity to make the major leagues.  Willie's father was away most of his childhood and Willie's mother worked in theaters so Willie was really raised by his aunt.

In some instances the book literally seems to transport you back in time as you relive events virtually as if they were happening.  I feel like I lived through the 51 playoffs and 54 World Series.

We learn in detail the reason for the Giants move to San Francisco, the big project bust that was Candlestick Park and Joan Payson's crusade to bring Willie back to New York.

The book is loaded with great tales of such colorful characters as Leo Durocher, Monte Irvin, Juan Marichal and Orlando Cepeda.  Willie was not too fond of manager Bill Rigney but seemed to fare better under Alvin Dark.  We learn about Willie's tense relationships with people like Yogi Berra and others. 

This book is a "must" for a baseball fan's library and by the time you finish the book you will feel like you grew up and old with Willie personally!

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March 26, 2010
Sounds like a great read. Love reading books about the Negro Leagues too. As you indicate there were many talented players who never got to the big leagues. I am putting this on my "to read" list.
March 26, 2010
Thanks Paul. Knowing how you like baseball, this should be on your list!
More Willie Mays: The Life, The Leg... reviews
review by . April 06, 2010
. . . 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 …
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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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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