For many middle-aged Americans, the expression “Say Hey” is sufficient to provide an instant identification of Willie Mays, one of the most exciting and productive players in the history of organized baseball. The days when New York had three competitive teams, however, when the fabled trio of “Willie, Mickey, and the Duke” was establishing the records which elevated the three into legendary status, have begun to recede into the realm of historical data. Working with experienced sports journalist Lou Sahadi (collaborator with Don Shula and Hank Stram), Willie Mays has written an autobiographical account which brings the halcyon days of the early 1950’s into vivid focus and which recalls the memorable moments of his long, productive tenure as an outfielder with the New York and then San Francisco Giants.
Mays and Sahadi have developed a narrative voice for Mays that is both an expression of Mays’s amiable, modest, but quietly proud personality and an excellent vehicle for presenting the details and highlights of Mays’s illustrious career. From his early days as a teenage phenomenon playing for the famous Birmingham Black Barons of the old Negro League just at the time of Jackie Robinson’s arrival in the Major Leagues, through his debut with the Giants in the “miracle year” of 1951, and on through his championship season in 1954 in New York and his great years in San Francisco, the book describes play after play, game after game, with a...
(The entire section is 511 words.)