San Francisco Giants legend and Hall of Famer Willie Mays dies

The two-time Major League Baseball most valuable player and 24-time All-Star is regarded by many as one of the best baseball players ever

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San Francisco Giants legend and baseball Hall of Famer Willie Mays has died, the team and his family announced Tuesday. He was 93.

The two-time Major League Baseball most valuable player and 24-time All-Star is regarded by many as one of the best baseball players ever.



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"My father has passed away peacefully and among loved ones," son Michael Mays said in a statement. "I want to thank you all from the bottom of my broken heart for the unwavering love you have shown him over the years. You have been his life's blood."

The late Willie McCovey, a former Giant, once said "Mays was just the greatest. Just God-gifted I guess. I’ve never seen anybody better."

Mays became a star for the New York Giants, leading the team to the 1954 World Series title. When the Giants moved to San Francisco in 1958, the city immediately fell in love with the "Say Hey Kid."

"It’s been a really, I guess, good run for me, because when you can come into a town and people love you the same way where you came from, to me, that’s wonderful," Mays once said. "I think it’s just a magnificent type of way of getting along with people."

Baseball legend Willie Mays died in his home Tuesday and this is how Giants announcer Jon Miller broke the news during the team’s telecast.

Mays tried bringing the Bay Area its first World Series title in 1962, only to fall short in Game 7 against the New York Yankees.

"It’s a shame we just never had a chance to win something more for you since I was playing," Mays once said. "1962 was a good year for us here. We won the pennant and everything, but we didn’t win the whole thing, and that’s one of the things I regret."

Though he never won another World Series, Mays racked up a number of awards. Among his many accomplishments, he was named Rookie of the Year and was a 12-time Gold Glove winner.

"He could take up the whole field and play the whole field," Mays' godson and former Giant Barry Bonds once said. "And you’re like, 'Really, Willie?' And Willie would do it. So, that was a gift that I didn’t have."

Mays retired in 1973 with the Mets and later returned to the Bay Area. In 1993, when Bonds signed with the Giants, Mays was once again a fixture at the ballpark.

"My dad was my teacher. Willie was my godfather. Willie was my idol," Bonds said. "There’s two comparisons here: to be a young kid and have a dream to be a baseball player and then the person you idolize is your godfather. What other gift do you want from that? All I cared was love, that he cared about me as my godfather and that I was good enough for him."

Mays loved to smile and never lost his desire for a good card game in the clubhouse. Even legends from other sports, like Muhammad Ali, would come to visit.

In 2015, then-President Barack Obama awarded Mays with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor.

"All I can say is, 'Thank you,'" Mays once said. "Thank the guys that I played with and hope they had a good time playing with me. Thank you very much."

NBC Bay Area’s Raj Mathai spoke to Giants First Baseman J.T. Snow and former San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, about the death of legendary baseball player Willie Mays.
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