Willie Mays has reached a huge milestone. The San Francisco Giants legend turned 90 on Thursday, making him the oldest living Baseball Hall of Famer. He was a member of the Giants for most of his career (1951-1952, 1954-1972) and ended his career with the New York Mets (1972-1973). Mays was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979,
"You'd sit on the bench and watch Willie Mays," Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson said to ESPN. "It was so exciting just to watch him. People did that with Jim Brown. They did that with the acrobatics and greatness of [Michael] Jordan. It's like players today going to watch the pregame warm-ups of Steph Curry. To watch Willie warm-up, to throw the ball underhand, to make a basket catch. The beauty and the grace. For the kids today, it was like watching Simone Biles. It was like watching [Mikhail] Baryshnikov. It was poetry in motion."
In his career, Mays was named an All-Star 24 times and National League MVP twice. He hit 660 career home runs, the sixth-most of all time, and an MLB record 22 homers. Mays won 12 Gold Glove awards for his work in center field and helped the Giants win the World Series in 1954. Here's a look at baseball fans sending love to Mays.
Happy 90th birthday to the legendary Willie Mays! pic.twitter.com/TwKGXD7P1S— MLB (@MLB) May 6, 2021
One fan wrote: "Happy 90th Willie!!! I still remember watching Willie get his 3,000 hit at Candlestick Park in 1970 with my dad!"prevnext
Happy 90th birthday to Willie Mays! If it wasn't for folks like Willie and Jackie Robinson, I might never have made it to the White House. The spirit he played with and the way he carried himself changed the game and people’s attitudes. I’m glad he’s still going strong. pic.twitter.com/DTlRlart5U— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) May 6, 2021
"Growing up in New York City I was the only Giants fan; all the other little kids were Yankees or Dodgers," one Twitter user wrote. "My proudest moment amongst my little friends was when my NY Giants swept the 1954 World Series as Willie Mays, always my favorite player, made the greatest catch of all time."prevnext
He graduated from an industrial high school having earned a degree in cleaning, dyeing and pressing clothes.
Instead of working at a laundromat, he became one of the best baseball players of all time.
Willie Mays, the oldest living Hall of Famer, turns 90 today. pic.twitter.com/h3TATLRItC— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) May 6, 2021
Willie Mays' Hall of Fame career started in the Negro Leagues. #SayHey90— MLB (@MLB) May 6, 2021
Here's another fan that got the opportunity to see Mays play. "Watched him play at Candlestick many times while I was growing up," the fan wrote. " What a treat!"prevnext
Willie Mays is 90 years young today. If you’re too young to remember him, spend a little time on YouTube today. There’s never been a perfect baseball player, but Willie was the next best thing. In the field or at the plate you couldn’t take your eyes off of him. Sheer greatness.— Howie Rose (@HowieRose) May 6, 2021
Another fan revealed: "I was a youngster in 1973 (11 yrs old) when Mays joined the Mets in 1973. I was thrilled, even though at that point he was in the twilight of his career. I would like to think he had something to do with the Mets reaching the WS that year. I am so glad I got to see him play."prevnext
I’ve seen lots of great athletes in my lifetime. Few played with the joy, brilliance, and sheer talent of Willie Mays. A Giant among mere mortals. When he was on the field, it was electric. Happy Birthday to the Say Hey Kid on turning 90! https://t.co/BW5I5K9155— Dan Rather (@DanRather) May 6, 2021
Another fan replied: "He was also the nicest guy - I sold him Girl Scout cookies when I was a kid. He lived up the street from the Jr High in my neighborhood in San Mateo. Saw him play many times at Candlestick."prevnext
Never forget “The Catch” occurred against Cleveland- - because of course it did.
Happy Birthday, Willie Mays pic.twitter.com/NHtCSjD73e— McNeil (@Reflog_18) May 6, 2021
"Best part of The Catch: The pitcher on that play was Don Liddle," the fan said when talking about Mays' famous catch. "Vic Wertz was the only batter he faced. They bring in the next pitcher, and Liddle tells him, "Well, I got my man."prev