It’s September 29th. And on September 29th, 1954, a young baseball player made a name for himself with a defensive play that to this day remains one of the greatest ever.
It was the first game of the 1954 world series, between the New York Giants and the Cleveland Indians. Playing center field for the Giants that day at the Polo Grounds was the young Willie Mays.
In the eighth inning of a tie game, Vic Wertz of the Indians came to the plate. He lofted a Fly ball to deep center field, and maze made a heroic run for it. With his back to home plate, Mays reached up and caught the ball over his shoulder.
The play was so amazing that to this day, it is usually simply referred to as The Catch.
In the years that followed, maze quickly established himself as a superstar, not only for his ability to smash home run after home run, but his speed on the bases, he was so fast, he was actually run out from under his cap. More on that in the interview you’re about to hear…
In 1988 Willie Mays finally wrote his autobiography, and that’s when I had the chance to meet him.
First, a little context. You’ll hear a reference here to Willie Mays being banned from baseball. What? Yes, in 1980, the commissioner banned Willie Mays because he had signed a deal with and Atlantic City casino, to be a greeter and autographed signed her. He was eventually reinstated.
Also, this interview took place at a time when the Baltimore Orioles, under the managerial leadership of Frank Robinson, we’re having a horrible year.
And we did this interview just a few weeks before the historic first ever night game at Chicago’s Wrigley Field.
So here now, from 1988, Willie Mays.
Willie Mays is 90 now. He’s been in the Hall of Fame since 1979.