Mets great Keith Hernandez gets choked up during tribute to Willie Mays: ‘The greatest player I ever saw’


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Baseball icon Willie Mays, the “Say Hey Kid,” died on Tuesday, the San Francisco Giants announced. He was 93.

The 24-time MLB All-Star spent the vast majority of his storied career with the Giants organization. The team released a statement mourning the life of the legendary player.

“It is with great sadness that we announce that San Francisco Giants Legend and Hall of Famer Willie Mays passed away peacefully this afternoon at the age of 93,” the Giants said in a statement.

As tributes poured in, one baseball player who grew up watching Mays became emotional as he recalled one of his fondest memories of the two-time National League MVP.


Willie Mays in car

Hall of Famer Willie Mays waves to the crowd during the pre-game celebration in honor of his 90th birthday prior to the game between the San Diego Padres and the San Francisco Giants at Oracle Park on Friday, May 7, 2021 in San Francisco. (Daniel Shirey/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

“At Shea Stadium when (Mays) was younger… and I also was in his company when he was older and he was legally blind,” former MLB player and current broadcaster Keith Hernandez said during the New York Mets game against the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night. “And what always came off was … and he was the “Say Hey Kid,” and he had that … personality, infectious and genuine. 

“And I got to tell him that he was the greatest player I ever saw.” 


Hernandez made his big league debut with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1974 and retired following the 1990 season.

Keith Hernandez throws ceremonial first pitch

Former New York Met Keith Hernandez throws the ceremonial first pitch before game one of the 2015 MLB National League Championship Series at Citi Field on Oct. 17, 2015. (Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

Mays spent one season in the Negro Leagues before making his MLB debut in 1951. He spent the final two seasons of his professional career with the Mets, last playing in 1973.

Willie’s son, Michael Mays, said loved ones were by his dad’s side when he died.

Willie Mays

Willie Mays died on Tuesday at the age of 93. (Getty Images)

“My father has passed away peacefully and among loved ones,” Michael Mays said in a statement sent to Fox News Digital. “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.”


May finished his career with 3,293 base hits.

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