Willie Mays On Mentoring

[January 13, 2016]

I want to highlight mentoring as part of this bike ride in April. But what does it mean to be a mentor? Willie Mays, the “Say Hey” kid used to say he was the best ballplayer he ever saw. I think he was the best baseball player I ever saw. In this article and interview on NPR he talks about a man that was a mentor to him.


Willie Mays was a young man playing in the largest city in America. When it came to life off the field, the legendary player credits his former teammate and fellow Hall of Famer Monte Irvin with being his teacher. “He taught me a lot things about life,” Mays said. “I already knew how to play the game, but sometimes you need a little more. You need to know how to treat people. You need to know how when you hit a home run, you run around the bases — you don’t stop and show anybody up. Thinking was more important to him than just playing the game.” “He was a guy that was sort of like my father. … There was a park by his house there, we would go out and just talk, nothing specific, just talk, mostly about life.”WillieMaysCatch

Think about what kind of impact a mentor can make to a young person – it goes beyond the classroom or college preparation. It is about preparing for life. Is there someone you know that could use such a person? Could you be that person?

The Lone Rider

PS -My childhood buddies and I would try and re-enact “The Catch” that Mays made in the 1954 World Series. “Throw the ball deep, I want to do a Willie Mays!” It’s also how I learned to run down deep lobs in tennis.

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