Happy Birthday, Willie Mays!

Today is the birthday of Willie Howard Mays, also known as the Say-Hey Kid.  He turns 82 today.  Mays ended his professional baseball career with a .302 average, 660 home runs, 1903 RBIs, and 3,283 hits.  He even played for my favorite team, the New York Mets, but only for 2 years (his last as a professional player) and only in 135 games during which he hit 14 home runs and stole 2 bases out of 7 attempts.  Unremarkable, yes, but no less memorable for a Met fan.

In the baseball tome, The Glory of Their Times, Willie Mays is, I think, the one modern player most often mentioned by past greats as someone who embodied the game of baseball, in his mind, in his body, and in his personality.

Now without further ado, here, for your viewing pleasure and inspiration, is some archival footage of Willie Mays who, after being knocked down by a Don Drysdale pitch up at his head, proceeds to hit the next one out of the park (footage starts at 0:50):

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