Mays, Willie Howard, Jr. ("Say Hey" Willie Mays), 1931–, American baseball player, b. Fairfield, Ala. He began his professional career at 17 with the Black Barons of the Negro National League. In 1951 he joined the New York Giants of the National League and led them to a world championship in 1954. Mays was a superb center fielder, an exciting baserunner, and an excellent hitter. Four times (1955, 1962, 1964–65) he led the league in home runs, four times in stolen bases, and he was the batting champion in 1954. In 1954 and 1965 Mays was voted most valuable player. He retired in 1973 after playing his final season with the pennant-winning New York Mets, having hit 660 home runs, the fourth highest total on record.
See his autobiography (1988); biography by J. S. Hirsch (2010); A. Barra, Mickey and Willie (2013).