Documentary About Baseball Legend Willie Mays Announced

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HBO recently announced the debut release of a new documentary about baseball legend Willie Mays. 

Known as Say Hey, Willie Mays, the documentary is set to premiere on Oct. 27 at the 2022 UrbanWorld Film Festival. It’ll air officially on HBO on Nov. 8 before becoming available for streaming the next day. 

Directed by Nelson George, a journalist and filmmaker whose credits include the 1991 comedy Strictly Business, Say Hey, Willie Mays follows the life and career of 91-year-old Willie Mays. Featuring exclusive interviews with Mays himself, his family and Hall of Famers such as Reggie Jackson and Orlando Cepeda, the documentary will offer a deeper look into the Hall of Famers’ five-decade-long career. 

“Over the years, the fans have given me so much joy, and I am excited to express my thanks again through this wonderful documentary and its telling of the story of my career and life,” said Mays about the film per the MLB. “I have worked hard and been fortunate to do many amazing things over the course of my life, and I am excited and proud that the people who see this film, including younger fans who never saw me play, will have the chance to relive this great journey with me and have a few laughs along the way.” 

Mays first began playing professional baseball at the age of 17 when he joined the Birmingham Black Barons in 1948 during a time when the leagues were still segregated. Although he was restricted to playing only the games that were held at home because of his father’s wish that he finish high school, Mays gained attention for his playing, signing with the New York Giants (now known as the San Fransisco Giants) the day he graduated from high school. 

Initially sent to play with their Class B team, he rose through the ranks, playing in the first team for the majority of his career from 1951 to 1952. He returned once again to play with the team from 1954 to 1972 after he returned from being drafted in the Korean War.

Now considered one of the top ten greatest baseball players, Mays broke multiple records throughout his career. He’s part of a significantly small group of baseball players with more than 3,000 hits and made what is considered to be one of the greatest catches in the sports’ history in Game 1 of the 1954 World Series. 

“It’s been one of the highlights of my life to get to talk with and document the life of Willie Mays, perhaps baseball’s greatest player and certainly its most charismatic personality,” said George, the documentary’s director, in a statement per MLB. “Not only was he a staple on the ‘Baseball Game of the Week,’ but crossed over into talk shows and night time entertainment when Black faces were rare. The film is very much a tale of mentorship.”

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