Willie Mays, Boundary-Breaking Baseball Legend, Dead At 93

Willie Mays, the iconic former professional baseball player, died at 93 on June 18, as the San Francisco Giants confirmed to MLB.com. Mays — who was married to the late Margherite Wendell Chapman from 1956 to 1963 and the late Mae Louise Allen from 1971 to 2013 — leaves behind one son, Michael.

Michael shared a heartfelt statement to the outlet:"My father has passed away peacefully and among loved ones. 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."

In light of Mays' death, those who were inspired by his career are looking back on both his life and his accomplishments. 

Willie Mays changed 'hatred to laughter'

Willie Howard Mays Jr. was born in Westfield, Alabama, on May 6, 1931. Starting with the professional Negro Leagues when he was just 16 years old, Mays was signed by the New York Giants in 1950 following high school. During his time on the field, the baseball star's stats quickly spoke for themselves, racking up 660 career home runs, 2,062 runs scored, and 3,283 hits. Mays was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979, participated in the All-Star Game for a record-tying 24 times, and was awarded 12 Golden Gloves. 

"When I played ball, I tried to make sure that everybody enjoyed what I was doing," Mays once said, according to NPR. "I made the clubhouse guy fit me a cap that when I ran, the wind gets up in the bottom and it flies right off. People love that type of stuff." When it came to racism, which was certainly an issue during his career, he explained, "I changed the hatred to laughter. That's what I think."

In Mays' later years, he told John Shea, the co-author of "24: Life Stories and Lessons From the Say Hey Kid" (via The New York Times), "My thing is keep talking and keep moving." He certainly kept inspiring people with what he had accomplished throughout his life, too. 

Our condolences go out to Mays' family, friends, and fans.