Willie Mays Is 90: Barack Obama Wishes a Happy Birthday to the Oldest Living Hall of Famer

Willie Mays is considered one of the best baseball players of all time

Willie Mays
Photo: Michael Nagle/Getty

Willie Mays is 90 years young!

The baseball legend marked his 90th birthday on Thursday, making him the oldest living Hall of Famer, according to ESPN.

Mays took the baseball field by storm when he joined the then New York Giants in 1951, earning Rookie of the Year honors that same year. He enjoyed a 21-season career with the Giants, before joining the New York Mets in 1973. Mays eventually walked away from baseball with 3,283 hits, two NL MVP awards, 24 All-Star honors, and 12 Gold Glove Awards.

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Willie Mays

But before he earned all of his MLB accolades, Mays played for the Birmingham Barons of the Negro American League, an organization that formed with other leagues after Black baseball players were forced out of teams by 1900.

He, along with other Black baseball players from the era, helped to break the color barrier in the major leagues.

In 1979, Mays took his place in the baseball Hall of Fame.

On Thursday, former President Barack Obama paid tribute to Mays on social media.

"Happy 90th birthday to Willie Mays!" he wrote. "If it wasn't for folks like Willie and Jackie Robinson, I might never have made it to the White House."

"The spirit he played with and the way he carried himself changed the game and people's attitudes," Obama continued. "I'm glad he's still going strong."

In a video released by the MLB, a series of former and current MLB players sent their birthday wishes to Mays.

"Your impact on this game is legendary," Los Angeles Angels player Mike Trout said in the video.

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According to Deadline, Mays will be the subject of an upcoming HBO documentary, which will use archival footage and interviews to illustrate Mays' remarkable life.

"Some say that throughout my life I have inspired others, but the truth is that so many have done this for me," Mays told the outlet. "My teammates, my friends, and of course the fans mean so much to me. And so I hope this documentary can give back to all of them something enjoyable and inspiring in return."

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