Willie Mays Fast Facts

Here’s a look at the life of Baseball Hall of Fame center fielder Willie Mays.


Birth date: May 6, 1931

Birth place: Westfield, Alabama

Birth name: William Howard Mays Jr.

Father: William Mays

Mother: Ann (Satterwhite) Mays

Marriages: Mae Louise Allen (1971-2013, her death); Margherite Wendell Chapman (1956-1961, divorced)

Children: adopted with Margherite Wendell Chapman: Michael

Military Service: US Army, 1952-1954

Other Facts

Career statistics include 3,283 hits, 660 home runs and a batting average of .302.

Only five other players in baseball history have hit more home runs than Mays: Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Albert Pujols and Alex Rodriguez.

Won 12 consecutive Gold Gloves.

Played in 24 All-Star Games and four World Series.

Godfather to baseball player Barry Bonds.

His nickname was the “Say Hey Kid.”


1948-1950 - Plays for the Birmingham Black Barons, part of the Negro League.

1950 - Signed by the New York Giants as an amateur free agent.

1951-1957 - Plays for the New York Giants.

1951 - Is named National League Rookie of The Year.

1952-1954 - Serves in the US Army.

1954 - During the World Series, Mays makes an over-the-shoulder catch that is considered one of the most memorable moments in baseball history.

1954 - National league MVP.

1955, 1962, 1964, 1965 - Leads the National League in home runs.

1957 - Wins the first-ever Gold Glove for center field.

1958 - The New York Giants become the San Francisco Giants.

1958-1972 - Plays for the San Francisco Giants.

August 30, 1961 - Hits four home runs in one game.

1963 - MLB All-Star Game MVP.

1964 - Becomes the first Black team captain in the major leagues.

1965 - National League MVP.

1968 - MLB All-Star Game MVP.

1972 - Is traded to the New York Mets.

1972 - Mays’ No. 24 jersey is retired by the San Francisco Giants.

1972-1973 - Plays for the New York Mets.

1973-1979 - New York Mets hitting instructor.

1979 - Is inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, receiving 409 out of 432 votes.

1986 - Assistant to the president of the Giants Organization. The position is extended for his lifetime in 1993.

2000 - Founds the Say Hey Foundation, which serves underprivileged children.

March 31, 2000 - A 23-ton bronze statue of Mays is unveiled at the new Major League ballpark in San Francisco.

December 2007 - Is inducted into the California Hall of Fame.

November 24, 2015 - Receives the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama.

May 12, 2020 - “24: Life Stories and Lessons from the Say Hey Kid” is published, co-authored by Mays and John Shea.

August 27, 2022 - The New York Mets retire Mays’ No. 24 jersey during an Old-Timers’ Day celebration at Citi Field, New York.

February 4, 2024 - The city of San Francisco and the Giants recognize 2/4/24 as “Willie Mays Day.”

For more CNN news and newsletters create an account at