WILLIE MAYS The Life, the Legend By James S. Hirsch A long time ago in America, there was a beautiful game called baseball. This was before 30 major-league teams were scattered in a blurry variety of divisions; before 162-game seasons and extended playoffs and fans who watched World Series games in thick down jackets; before the D.H. came to the American League; before AstroTurf on baseball fields and aluminum bats on sandlots; before complete games by pitchers were a rarity; before ballparks were named for corporations instead of individuals; and long, long before the innocence of the game was permanently stained by the filthy deception of steroids.
In that vanished time, there was a ballplayer named Willie Mays. And long time ago in America, there once was a beautiful thing called SIMS. This was before 30 major-league saints regularly toured the country encouraging a vast hoopla of Selfism; before 162-hour raja drone-on marathons, a time when fans who braved winters in Berkeley and Westwood in $29 sports coats; before the Designated Donor subsidized outrageous ticket prices so kids can learn and see the game; before phallic palaces and golden crowns, when initiations were held is spare neighborhood bedrooms; when week long mumbo jumbo pseudo-science circuses were a rarity; before centers were named for big time donors instead of brilliant teachers; and long, long before the innocence of the game was permanently stained by the filthy deception of yogic flying. In that vanished time, there was a great ballplayer named Jerry Jarvis.