Happy birthday Willie Mays! Fairfield native and one of baseball’s greatest ever turns 92 (PHOTOS)

NSLM
Willie Mays painting at the Birmingham Negro Southern League Museum (Pat Byington/Bham Now)

Fairfield native and former Birmingham Black Baron Willie Mays turned 92 this weekend on May 6th.

Widely considered one the greatest players to ever play the game, Bham Now pulled together a montage of photos from around the Magic City honoring the “Say Hey Kid.” 

Photos were taken at  Birmingham Negro Southern League Museum, Regions Field and Rickwood Field.

Rickwood Field
Photo of the Birmingham Black Barons championship team in 1948 at Rickwood Field . Mays is pictured in the top row in the middle of the photo (Pat Byington/Bham Now)
Rickwood Field
Rickwood Field in 2021. (Pat Byington/Bham Now)

From the Barons

Below is a statement provided to us from Birmingham Barons President and General Manager Jonathan Nelson honoring Willie Mays.

“The Birmingham Barons organization has been around for the most part since 1885 and during that time there have been numerous great teams from the Birmingham Coal Barons to the Birmingham Black Barons to the Birmingham A’s and Barons along with many iconic players and legendary Hall of Famers. With all that rich history, Willie Mays is at the top of the list as greatest to represent the Magic City. His career accomplishments and overall contributions make him one of the greatest baseball players of all-time and certainly the greatest living player today.”

Regions Field
Statue in front of Regions Field of Willie Mays (Pat Byington/Bham Now)

Stats

Here are the stats during Mays’ 24-year Major League Baseball career: 

  • 660 home runs
  • 3,283 hits
  • 1,903 runs batted in
  • 338 stolen bases
  • .302 career batting average 
  • As a fielder he recorded 7,752 put outs with 156 errors, with a 0.981 fielding percentage

The Catch

IMG 2133 Happy birthday Willie Mays! Fairfield native and one of baseball's greatest ever turns 92 (PHOTOS)
Willie Mays glove at the Birmingham Negro Southern League Museum (Pat Byington/Bham Now)

Mays could do it all — hit and field. One of the most famous plays in Major League Baseball was “The Catch” at the 1954 World Series in the Polo Grounds.

Legacy Lives On

Willie Mays
Willie Mays sign at Railroad Park (Pat Byington/Bham Now)

The  two-block section of 1st Avenue South fronting Regions Field was renamed “Willie Mays Drive” in 2016. There is also a baseball field named in his honor in Fairfield.

Willie Mays
Fairfield’s Willie Mays Park (Pat Byington/Bham Now)

Mays is a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, Alabama Sports Hall of Fame and Birmingham Barons Hall of Fame. He received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Obama in 2015.

Happy Birthday Willie Mays!

What is your favorite Willie Mays memory? Tell us on social media by tagging us at @bhamnow

Pat Byington
Pat Byington

Longtime conservationist. Former Executive Director at the Alabama Environmental Council and Wild South. Publisher of the Bama Environmental News for more than 18 years. Career highlights include playing an active role in the creation of Alabama's Forever Wild program, Little River Canyon National Preserve, Dugger Mountain Wilderness, preservation of special places throughout the East through the Wilderness Society and the strengthening (making more stringent) the state of Alabama's cancer risk and mercury standards.

Articles: 2256