It was startling to read, last week, that Willie Mays has turned 90 years old. He was born May 6, 1931.
Like so many baseball fans, I have enormous admiration for Mr. Mays, and for what he achieved during his remarkable career.
When I read about his birthday, I went to YouTube, to watch (once again) his often-celebrated catch, made during the first game of the 1954 World Series, between Mays's New York Giants and the Cleveland Indians. The game took place at New York's Polo Grounds.
The play, in the game's eighth inning--begun with a fly ball, hit to center field by Cleveland first baseman Vic Wertz--is still riveting to see. It's often referred to as "The Catch"--and there is, indeed, a Wikipedia page devoted to the play.
It is one of the great moments in sports: Mays--somehow--catching the fly ball, on the run, his back to home plate. And, it is not solely the catch which was extraordinary; there was also Mays's stunning throw to second base, immediately afterwards.
Because of the play, Cleveland's Larry Doby, who had been on second base, only reached third; the score, by the end of the inning, remained tied, at 2-2. The Giants went on to win the game in the tenth inning--and won the World Series in four games.
Here is the play, from YouTube: