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Now in paperback, the “enormously entertaining and wide-ranging” (Seattle Times) authorized, definitive, New York Times bestselling (4 weeks on the list) biography of Willie Mays, the most complete baseball player of all time.

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. He was a blend of power, speed, and stylistic bravado that enraptured fans for more than two decades. Now James Hirsch reveals the man behind the player.

Mays 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 brilliant portrait of one of America’s most significant cultural icons.

Topics: Baseball, Sports, Civil and Political Rights, Race Relations, Athletes, 1960s, Nostalgic, Inspirational, California, and New York City

Published: Scribner on Apr 3, 2010
ISBN: 9781439171653
List price: $14.99
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First, had to overcome dislike of narrator of these audio disks. As someone curious about Mays' rise during segregation, I was pleasantly surprised to find that his career in that regard was not as bad as most. generally his teammates were loyal to him. And his upbringing was pretty stable. I just got bored with it with 2 more CDs to go so finished it but found my mind wantering.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
For me, a "Mays worshiper", Hirsch has captured the essence of the legend. Mays was the greatest ball player of all time, without any doubt or argument. But, he is much more than that. He is a quality person through and through and this biography repeatedly highlights the aspects of Mays's life that demonstrates that fact.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Reads like a long afternoon game with highs and lows shifting between the skills of the opposing teams. More than baseball, it introduced me to social changes in the 50s and 60s that I was too young to really appreciate or understand.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
What can I say? I really enjoyed reading this biography of Willie Mays, who I saw play at the Polo Grounds as a kid. This is an authorized biography, so it doesn't explore every dark corner of Mays's life, but who wants to go there anyway?read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
An absorbing biography revealing much that was not known to me at the time the events occurred.Mays entered professional baseball in the years after World War 2 when some baseball owners began to accept that top players of all colors would bring in the fans and win games. As one of the first players crossing the color bar, Mays did not have an easy time of it. But his love of the game and style of play won him overwhelming and widespread admiration.The author carefully deals with many complex and sensitive issues. While this biography is not a simple adulatory work, it could be said to admire the Mays for his spirit and achievements in the complexity of his times.Readers will learn much about how racism was manifested in professional baseball in the US since the 1940s; what black players had to endure as a result; and how the different black players dealt with these issues. Mays' responses were his own. The author strives to present their integrity.Another fascinating theme in this book was the development of Mays' attitude toward professional baseball. Given the opportunity to play pro ball, his initial attitude was almost to play for free, he loved the game so much. Baseball was his life (although as a young man he was also an excellent football player). He was not found among those seeking to organize as players against the owners to win greater rights. But in later years we see how he came to feel more personally the labor and human rights issues being raised by those players.Finally, for baseball players, the author provides frequent insights into Mays' canny craftwork and feats of brilliant talent.read more
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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Reviews

First, had to overcome dislike of narrator of these audio disks. As someone curious about Mays' rise during segregation, I was pleasantly surprised to find that his career in that regard was not as bad as most. generally his teammates were loyal to him. And his upbringing was pretty stable. I just got bored with it with 2 more CDs to go so finished it but found my mind wantering.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
For me, a "Mays worshiper", Hirsch has captured the essence of the legend. Mays was the greatest ball player of all time, without any doubt or argument. But, he is much more than that. He is a quality person through and through and this biography repeatedly highlights the aspects of Mays's life that demonstrates that fact.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
Reads like a long afternoon game with highs and lows shifting between the skills of the opposing teams. More than baseball, it introduced me to social changes in the 50s and 60s that I was too young to really appreciate or understand.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
What can I say? I really enjoyed reading this biography of Willie Mays, who I saw play at the Polo Grounds as a kid. This is an authorized biography, so it doesn't explore every dark corner of Mays's life, but who wants to go there anyway?
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
An absorbing biography revealing much that was not known to me at the time the events occurred.Mays entered professional baseball in the years after World War 2 when some baseball owners began to accept that top players of all colors would bring in the fans and win games. As one of the first players crossing the color bar, Mays did not have an easy time of it. But his love of the game and style of play won him overwhelming and widespread admiration.The author carefully deals with many complex and sensitive issues. While this biography is not a simple adulatory work, it could be said to admire the Mays for his spirit and achievements in the complexity of his times.Readers will learn much about how racism was manifested in professional baseball in the US since the 1940s; what black players had to endure as a result; and how the different black players dealt with these issues. Mays' responses were his own. The author strives to present their integrity.Another fascinating theme in this book was the development of Mays' attitude toward professional baseball. Given the opportunity to play pro ball, his initial attitude was almost to play for free, he loved the game so much. Baseball was his life (although as a young man he was also an excellent football player). He was not found among those seeking to organize as players against the owners to win greater rights. But in later years we see how he came to feel more personally the labor and human rights issues being raised by those players.Finally, for baseball players, the author provides frequent insights into Mays' canny craftwork and feats of brilliant talent.
Is this review helpful? Yes | NoThank you for your feedback.
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