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Author Topic: On Willie Mays, his father and the final childhood summer  (Read 309 times)

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On Willie Mays, his father and the final childhood summer
« on: June 18, 2017, 07:02:59 am »


The determined father told a manager of one summer baseball team that his son wasn't allowed to pitch even though he had the strongest arm anyone had ever seen.

Think dads these days take travel baseball a little too seriously? That same summer, in 1946, William Howard Mays sent his 15-year-old boy to Chattanooga to play ball. The kid came home on a bus when the team ran out of food to feed its players.

The next year, 70 years ago this summer, a 16-year-old William Howard Mays, Jr., shared a baseball field with his dad for the last time. Willie Mays played left field and his father, Cat Mays, played center field for Westfield's wire mill team. It was the height of Birmingham's famed Industrial League, and it was the final childhood summer for the Say Hey Kid.

After 1947, thanks to Jackie Robinson's rookie year, everything changed for Mays, and for black baseball in America. Not long after his debut with the Birmingham Black Barons in 1948, Mays was put on the fast track...
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