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Publisher's Summary

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.
©2011 James S. Hirsch (P)2011 Simon & Schuster
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Critic Reviews

"Willie Mays had everything--except a first-rate biography. That omission has now been addressed by James S. Hirsch, who has produced a piece of artistry worhty of Mays in center field." (
"James Hirsch has written an enormously entertaining and wide-ranging biography - a fitting tribute to Mays... and a thoughtful account of the complex and often misunderstood man.... True baseball fans will delight in the author's edge-of-seat game reports and picture-perfect descriptions of Mays' superlative talents.... This is a superb baseball book, but it's also a riveting narrative of Mays' life and times." ( Seattle Times)
"A terrific new biography... [an] always engaging and enlightening book... A wonderful introduction to the magical life of one of the finest athletes ever." ( San Francisco Chronicle)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By Peter on 05-12-13

Mays Still Hits The Ball Out of the Park

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

Yes. The book did a very good job of giving a broad spectrum view of a simple, hard working man, who overcame much, remained very humble and did a lot of good for humanity, even to this day at age 80

What was one of the most memorable moments of Willie Mays?

His caring for Johnny Roseboro durning a brawl between the Giants and Dodgers showed the depth of his character and his humanness.

What does Adam Grupper bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you just read the book?

He brought old memories back to life as if they were actually happening anew.

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

Hearing of Mays' care for his ailing wife, who has now, just recently, passed away.

Any additional comments?

All baseball fans deserve to learn about Willie Mays and to see how he contributed in a very different way than "Number 21" in bringing the black athlete up in society in general.

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2 of 2 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Steven on 07-18-17

If You Love Baseball... Learn about Willie

I have dedicated much of my time to listening to audible's great selection of baseball audiobooks. I have come to notice that when it comes to player biographies this is the style I enjoy the most. I know that sports writers do not like to post the players box scores in their books and want to go deeper, but Willie Mays has books written about him because he may be the greatest baseball player of all time. This book along with The Kid about Ted Williams finds a great balance of telling stories about the man and his life, and actually making you understand what the ballplayer did day in and day out. I love the detail, I love going season by season through Willie May's experience. I love getting to hear about the great World Series this Giant of the game played in. It is the next best thing to getting to watch Willie Mays play ball throughout his career which I did not have the opportunity to do. I also want to mention that with all the great game by game accounts, this book goes deep into the issues Willie went through in his personal life. The way he was perceived as a high profile African American man in a time when that was especially difficult. This is a well rounded book it fits the term comprehensive,and I am really glad I learned about Willie Mays.

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7 of 9 people found this review helpful

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