Saturday, May 16, 2020

Willie Mays Confirms That The Red Sox Could Have Had Him "Easy"

As if you weren't completely depressed with the lack of baseball, along comes a new biography of the great Willie Mays that confirms the blunder of the Red Sox in not signing perhaps the greatest player of that generation. In the new book "24: Life Stories and Lessons From the Say Hey Kid", Mays reveals that Boston passed on signing him. A Red Sox farm team shared an Alabama stadium with Mays' Negro League Team—the Birmingham Black Barons. Mays, as a supremely talented teenager, was showing his dazzling abilities right before their eyes every day. Said Mays of the Red Sox, "Oh, they had me easy." Think of it—an outfield with both Ted Williams and Willie Mays—and maybe Jackie Robinson at second. We think it would have worked out—even with Willie's disdain for the Junior Circuit: "I didn’t like the ballparks in the American League. I thought the National League was stronger than the American League. That’s what I thought. When I went to the All-Star Game over there, they wanted me to say that I wanted to be a Red Sock. I said, ‘No, I’ll go where they paid my family.'" Growing up a Red Sox fan, Mays was always my favorite non-Carmine Hoser (until Brooks Robinson came along many years later). Mays' magnificent two-way talents and his joy in playing the game made him seem larger than life. In any event, the Red Sox did not sign the 24-time All-Star and the team, the city and fans of Boston are poorer for it.