By all measures, Willie Mays is one of the greatest baseball players of all time, and it can be argued that he may be the greatest. After winning Rookie of the Year in his debut season and spending some time in the military, Mays dominated the league for over a decade, winning two MVP awards, 12 Gold Gloves, and earning a World Series title with the New York Giants. Nearly 50 years after his final game, Mays still captures the imagination, whether it's one of his 660 towering home runs or the unreal over-the-shoulder catch he pulled off at the Polo Grounds in the 1954 World Series.
Thursday is Mays' 90th birthday, and as befitting someone of his status, luminaries from Barack Obama to Mookie Betts paid tribute on social media.
Happy 90th birthday to Willie Mays! If it wasn't for folks like Willie and Jackie Robinson, I might never have made it to the White House. The spirit he played with and the way he carried himself changed the game and people's attitudes. I'm glad he's still going strong. pic.twitter.com/DTlRlart5U— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) May 6, 2021
Wishing a very happy 90th birthday to Willie Mays!!! Here are Willie and Grampa in 1972 with the #Mets, sharing a cake for their bdays, which are 6 days apart. #SayHey90 #SFGiants 🎂⚾️🎈 pic.twitter.com/NcMHdjVlw1— Lindsay Berra (@lindsayberra) May 6, 2021
Happy 90th birthday to the legendary Willie Mays! pic.twitter.com/TwKGXD7P1S— MLB (@MLB) May 6, 2021
Willie Mays has always been my favorite player, and I've seen a few. Happy 90th Birthday Willie! https://t.co/fxZknL8thb— Vin Scully (@TheVinScully) May 6, 2021
I've seen lots of great athletes in my lifetime. Few played with the joy, brilliance, and sheer talent of Willie Mays. A Giant among mere mortals. When he was on the field, it was electric. Happy Birthday to the Say Hey Kid on turning 90! https://t.co/BW5I5K9155— Dan Rather (@DanRather) May 6, 2021