LIFE AFTER BASEBALL FOR "SAY HEY" WILLIE MAYS Print E-mail
Written by Jim Rednour   
Saturday, 02 May 2009

After hanging up his glove in 1973, Willie Mays remained for a time with the Mets organization, before becoming a public relations executive with Bally's Resorts and Colgate-Palmolive.

On January 23, 1979, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. It was his first year of eligibility and he had appeared on 409 of the 432 ballots cast (roughly 95%).   In 1986, Willie Mays returned to the San Francisco Giants organization, where he still serves as special assistant to the president of the club.  In 1993 the Giants made this a lifetime appointment.

In 1997, Mays was standing on a stage with a look of amazement belying his 66 years when San Francisco Giant President Peter Magowan announced that the address of Pacific Bell Park would be Willie Mays Plaza. And just short of his 69th birthday, he was amazed by the lifelike detail of the statue erected in his honor in the plaza named for him, with his No. 24 looking down from the clock tower above Willie Mays Gate.

These days, Willie Mays gets to do what he likes to do. He greets his public when he feels like it.  A staunch supporter of his God-son Barry Bonds, Willie stood by his side and offered him guidance through each and every home run landmark…500, 600, 700 and especially when Barry surpassed Henry

Aaron’s 755 for the all-time top spot. Through it all, Willie and Hank have remained friends (in fact they appeared together in a memorable installment of the Costas NOW show on HBO) with the single-minded ambition of maintaining baseball as a game played by honorable men at the highest level of skill and dedication to excellence. 

Just like playing baseball, being a philanthropist came naturally to Mays, who often made personal visits to assist ailing or underprivileged children by providing tuition, paying for schoolbooks or by just giving them a pair of shoes. Willie believes that he owes a debt of gratitude to the teachers, coaches, mentors and friends who took the time to help him.  He recognizes what it means to a kid when someone extends a helping hand. To repay this debt, he has tried to reciprocate at every opportunity. Sometimes that meant offering an encouraging word, while at other times it meant providing financial assistance. As he has said many times, “No one does it alone.”

One of the most recognizable and beloved figures in America, Mays was sought after by entertainment producers and appeared on countless non-sports related TV shows, including:

  1. The Colgate Comedy Hour
  2. Tonight! - The Steve Allen Show
  3. The NBC Comedy Hour
  4. Toast of the Town
  5. Home Run Derby - Hodges vs. Mays
  6. What's My Line?
  7. Bewitched
  8. The Donna Reed Show
  9. The Hollywood Palace
  10. The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson
  11. The ABC Saturday Superstar Movie “Willie Mays and the Say-Hey Kid”
  12. The Way It Was
  13. My Two Dads
  14. Mr. Belvedere




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