Quotes About Willie Mays

May 7, 2021 | This Day In Baseball

1) “That Willie Mays, he’s one of the greatest center fielders who ever lived. You can go back as far as you want and name all the great ones – Tris Speaker, Eddie Roush, Max Carey, Earle Combs, Joe DiMaggio. I don’t care who you name, Mays is just as good, maybe better.” — Harry Hooper
▪️2) “Willie Mays is the greatest ballplayer I’ve ever seen. I never saw Joe DiMaggio play, but if Joe DiMaggio was better than Willie Mays, he belongs in Heaven.” — Roberto Clemente
▪️3) “I think I was the best ballplayer I’ve ever seen. I feel nobody in the world could do what I could do on a baseball field. I hope I’m not saying anything wrong, but you have to think you’re the best. The next one would be Roberto Clemente.” — Willie Mays
▪️4) “[Mays] and Joe DiMaggio are the greatest center fielders I ever saw. But Joe couldn’t run the bases as well; he wasn’t as daring as Willie. I would pay money just to see him play. He brings back the old days for a fellow like myself. . . . How about that arm? It’s the greatest I ever saw. Bob Meusel, of the old-time Yankees, was good, too. But you can’t beat Willie.” — Frankie Frisch
▪️5) “Outside of Joe DiMaggio, Willie Mays is the greatest all-around baseball player of my time. Certainly, he’s been the most daring. Mays would steal home, a tough play and one in which you’ve got a great chance to look bad. Willie didn’t even think of that, he’d just go. Nine times out of ten, he’d make it.” — Mickey Mantle
▪️6) “Snider, Mantle, and Mays. You could get a fat lip in any saloon by starting an argument as to which was best. One point was beyond argument, though. Willie was by all odds the most exciting.” — Red Smith
▪️7) “I’ve seen Speaker, Cobb, Hooper – oh, all the great outfielders – but I’ve never seen anyone who was any better than Willie Mays. . . . [He] can throw, field, hit, run, anything. . . . Cobb was a better hitter. But Mays – I don’t know, there’s just something about him.” — Al Bridwell
▪️8) “Mays is the only man in baseball I’d pay to see play.” — Ty Cobb
▪️9) “Mays is one of the few modern players who [is] just as good as the best of the old-timers.” — Sam Crawford
▪️10) “There have been only two geniuses in the world: Willie Mays and Willie Shakespeare.” — Tallulah Bankhead
▪️11) “You used to think if the score was 5-0, [Mays] would hit a five-run homer.” — Reggie Jackson
▪️12) “[Mays] scooped the ball up at the base of the 406-foot sign, whirled and fired. It came in on one bounce, directly in front of the plate, and into the glove of catcher Tom Haller, who put it on the astonished Willie Stargell. It was described by old-timers as the greatest throw ever made in ancient Forbes Field.” — Bob Stevens, San Francisco Chronicle, August 25, 1965
▪️13) “I couldn’t believe Mays could throw that far. I figured there had to be a relay. Then I found out there wasn’t. He’s too good for this world.” — Willie Stargell
▪️14) “People talk about that catch [1954 World Series] and, I’ve said this many times, that I’ve made better catches than that many times in the regular season.” — Willie Mays
▪️15) “An unusual event occurred in the seventh. [Jim] Greengrass tripled over the head of Willie Mays. To a Giant fan, this is like tripling over the Empire State building.” — Bob Cooke, New York Herald Tribune, 1954
▪️16) “I can’t believe that Babe Ruth was a better player than Willie Mays. Ruth is to baseball what Arnold Palmer is to golf. He got the game moving. But I can’t believe he could run as well as Mays, and I can’t believe he was any better an outfielder.” — Sandy Koufax
▪️17) “They invented the All-Star Game for Willie Mays.” — Ted Williams
▪️18) “If [Mays] could cook, I’d marry him.” — Leo Durocher
▪️19) “As a batter, his only weakness is a wild pitch.” — Bill Rigney
▪️20) “I’m not sure what the hell charisma is, but I get the feeling it’s Willie Mays.” — Ted Kluszewski
▪️21) “I always enjoyed playing ball, and it didn’t matter to me whether I played with white kids or black. I never understood why an issue was made of who I played with, and I never felt comfortable, when I grew up, telling other people how to act. . . . It was the grownups who got upset . . . I never got into a fight that was caused by racism.” — Willie Mays
▪️22) “When I was seventeen years old, I realized I was in a form of show business. It’s like being on the Broadway stage. He doesn’t phrase his part exactly the same way every day. He thinks up new things. So I played for the fans, and I wanted to make sure each fan that came out would see something different I did each day.” — Willie Mays
▪️23) “In order to excel, you must be completely dedicated to your chosen sport. You must also be prepared to work hard and be willing to accept constructive criticism. Without one-hundred percent dedication, you won’t be able to do this.” — Willie Mays
▪️24) “Hopefully, they can say, ‘There goes the best baseball player in the world.’ I honestly believe I did everything in baseball that a baseball player can do, and I did it with love.” — Willie Mays
☑️Sources: https://www.gq.com + https://en.wikiquote.org + https://www.baseball-almanac.com + https://www.quotetab.com + https://chroniclingamerica.loc.gov + https://www.theatlantic.com + Ritter, Lawrence. “The Glory of Their Times: The Story of the Early Days of Baseball Told by the Men Who Played It.” New York: HarperCollins, 1992.
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