Willie Mays by James S Hirsch
The Life, The Legend

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Synopsis

Willie Mays is arguably the greatest player in baseball history, still revered for the passion he brought to the game. He began as a teenager in the Negro Leagues, became a cult hero in New York, and was the headliner in Major League Baseball’s bold expansion to California. He was a blend of power, speed, and stylistic bravado that enraptured fans for more than two decades. Now James Hirsch reveals the man behind the player.

Mays was a transcendent figure who received standing ovations in enemy stadiums and who, during the turbulent civil rights era, urged understanding and reconciliation. More than his records, his legacy is defined by the pure joy that he brought to fans and the loving memories that have been passed to future generations so they might know the magic and beauty of the game. With meticulous research and drawing on interviews with Mays himself as well as with close friends, family, and teammates, Hirsch presents a brilliant portrait of one of America’s most significant cultural icons.
 

About James S Hirsch

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James S. Hirsch is former reporter for The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. He is the author of four nonfiction books, including the New York Times bestseller. Hurricane: The Miraculous Journey of Rubin Carter, which was the basis for the film of the same name starring Denzel Washington. Hirsch is a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and has a master’s degree from the LBJ School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas. He lives in the Boston area with his wife, Sheryl, and their children, Amanda and Garrett. Born and raised in St. Louis, he remains a diehard Cardinal fan.
 
Published March 25, 2010 by Scribner. 640 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Sports & Outdoors. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Willie Mays

Kirkus Reviews

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Hirsch discusses how he learned baseball's fundamentals from his father, mastered his unique “basket catch” (in the Army), got the nickname “Say Hey Kid,” rocketed through the minors, debuted with the New York Giants in 1951 and quickly became baseball's dominant star and its most exciting player...

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The New York Times

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Hirsch’s fine new book, “Willie Mays: The Life, the Legend.” Above all, I remembered Mays getting a thunderous round of applause when he first came to bat in games at Ebbets Field (the only other visiting player to hear such cheers was Stan Musial of the St. Louis Cardinals).

Feb 25 2010 | Read Full Review of Willie Mays: The Life, The Le...

The New York Times

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Babe Ruth may have been baseball’s “most dominant player,” Mr. Hirsch writes, but “Mays was its greatest master.” “Willie Mays: The Life, the Legend” is packed with fresh, salty details, but it bogs down in its replaying of season after grueling season.

Feb 09 2010 | Read Full Review of Willie Mays: The Life, The Le...

The New York Times

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This account of Willie Mays’s career concentrates on the baseball brilliance, reminding us of when the only performance-enhancing drug was joy.

Feb 28 2010 | Read Full Review of Willie Mays: The Life, The Le...

The Wall Street Journal

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Willie Mays's baseball career did have something of the mythic about it—magical throws, dervish moves on the basepaths, home runs whacked into upper decks.

Feb 06 2010 | Read Full Review of Willie Mays: The Life, The Le...

Christian Science Monitor

If biases be told, this reviewer is a lifelong Willie Mays fan who can’t imagine a book about his idol being anything but a must-read.

Mar 13 2010 | Read Full Review of Willie Mays: The Life, The Le...

Oregon Live

Hirsch makes the case that if it weren't for Durocher's uncharacteristic cuddling of the Giants' 20-year old rookie, Mays may never have developed into the wondrous player the world got to know.

Mar 06 2010 | Read Full Review of Willie Mays: The Life, The Le...

Bookmarks Magazine

The Topic: The career of Willie Mays spans many of the changes that made baseball the game it is today.

Feb 07 2010 | Read Full Review of Willie Mays: The Life, The Le...

Project MUSE

Mays opened the 1951 season with the Class AAA Minneapolis Millers, but on May 24 the young outfielder was summoned to join the struggling New York Giants.

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Bleacher Report

Somehow the book just left me feeling used, or like there was more to the story, but I couldn't scratch below the surface of the facade that Mays allowed Hirsch to create.

Mar 02 2011 | Read Full Review of Willie Mays: The Life, The Le...

Baseball America

For those who never got to see him play—an ever-growing segment that now includes a couple of generations of fans—the legend of Willie Mays is built on grainy film of "The Catch" in the 1954 World Series, maybe a shot or two of him zipping around the bases, and numbers like 660 (home runs), 338 (...

Apr 20 2010 | Read Full Review of Willie Mays: The Life, The Le...

At Home Plate

Full disclosure: This reviewer has the essential advantage of having seen Willie play at the old Polo Grounds in Harlem.

May 09 2010 | Read Full Review of Willie Mays: The Life, The Le...

The Hardball Times

In all, it's a fine baseball biography of Willie Mays, but I wouldn't go so far as to say it's the Willie Mays of baseball biographies.

Mar 01 2010 | Read Full Review of Willie Mays: The Life, The Le...

Reader Rating for Willie Mays
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