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Mays brought joy to baseball

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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Say Hey Said


Quotes by Willie Mays

  • "Baseball is a game, yes. It is also a business. But what it most truly is is disguised combat. For all its gentility, its almost leisurely pace, baseball is violence under wraps."
    --Quoted in "Willie Mays" by Arnold Hano

  • "Don't get me wrong, I like to hit. But there's nothing like getting out there in the outfield, running after a ball and throwing somebody out trying to take that extra base. That's real fun."
    --Quoted in "The Sporting News" on April 20, 1955

  • "I don't compare 'em, I just catch 'em."
    --When asked which of his catches was his greatest

  • "They throw the ball, I hit it; they hit the ball, I catch it."
    --On his formula for success in baseball, widely quoted

  • "When you catch a ball high, head high or higher and have to make a throw afterwards, what do you do? You have to bring the ball down before you can get it away.
    "But when you catch the ball as I do you are in position to get rid of it right now without any delay."

    --On making his famous "basket" catches, quoted by Sec Taylor in "Baseball Digest"

    Quotes about Mays

  • "There have been only two authentic geniuses in the world, Willie Mays and Willie Shakespeare."
    --Actress Tallulah Bankhead

  • "If somebody came up and hit .450, stole 100 bases, and performed a miracle in the field everyday I'd still look you in the eye and say Willie was better. He could do the five things you have to do to be a superstar: hit, hit with power, run, throw and field. And he had that other magic ingredient that turns a superstar into a super superstar. He lit up the room when he came in. He was a joy to be around."
    --By Leo Durocher, quoted in "Grand Slams and Fumbles" by Peter Beilenson

  • "It was his solemn duty to catch a ball that wasn't in the stands."
    --By Monte Irvin, 1981

  • "The ball came down in Utica. I know. I was managing there at the time."
    --Lefty Gomez on a homer Mays hit off Warren Spahn

  • "He was something like 0 for 21 the first time I saw him. His first major league hit was a home run off me--and I'll never forgive myself. We might have gotten rid of Willie forever if I'd only struck him out."
    --By Warren Spahn (ed. note: Mays was 0-for-12 when he face Spahn for the first time.)

  • "The last time Willie Mays dropped a pop fly he had a rattle in one hand and a bonnet on his head."
    --By Jim Murray





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