SAN FRANCISCO (KTVU) - Willie “The Say Hay Kid” Mays caught another unforgettable distinction.
The World Series Most Valuable Player award was renamed on Friday, Major League Baseball announced. The MVP of the biggest game in baseball will now be recognized as the “Willie Mays World Series Most Valuable Player.”
The announcement came on the 63rd anniversary of Mays’ iconic over-the-head, basket catch in center field during game one of the 1954 World Series. Mays, then a member of the New York Giants, helped propel his team to a four game sweep over the Indians while cementing the greatest catch in World Series history.
The following season baseball unveiled their first World Series MVP honors. Mays played in four World Series throughout a 22-year career span.
“Major League Baseball is thrilled to honor Willie Mays on our game’s biggest stage and in a manner that befits his many contributions to the sport,” Commissioner Rob Manfred said in a statement. “Since making ‘The Catch’ on September 29, 1954, Willie has been a part of World Series history. The annual recognition will forever celebrate the life and career of a legend of the National Pastime.”
At 86, Mays adds this honor to a long list of achievements, including a 2015 Hall of Fame induction. He finished his career batting .302 with 660 home runs and 338 stolen bases.
In 2015, Mays received two distinguished awards. Baseball recognized him as one of the four “Greatest Living Players” at the All Star game and President Obama honored him with the Presidential Medal of Freedom – a prestigious list of 28 sports figures, including Jesse Owens, Jackie Robinson and Muhammad Ali.