HBO Sports Documentaries is set to release a documentary film on Willie Mays entitled “Say Hey, Willie Mays!” The documentary, which will have its world premiere at the 2022 UrbanWorld Film Festival on Oct. 27, will be directed by Nelson George in conjunction with UNINTERRUPTED and Major League Baseball.
The documentary, which will debut on Wednesday, Nov. 8, at 9 p.m. ET/PT on HBO and HBO Max, will follow five decades of Mays’ life both on and off the field.
The film features interviews with Mays, his godson Barry Bonds and son Michael Mays. Hall of Famers Reggie Jackson, Orlando Cepeda and Juan Marichal, legendary broadcasters Vin Scully, Jon Miller and Bob Costas and Mays biographer John Shea were also interviewed for the documentary.
“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,” Mays said of the film. “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. Watching this documentary brought a proud and grateful smile to my face, and I hope everyone else enjoys it too.”
According to HBO, the documentary series will follow Mays’ playing career from the Negro Leagues to the Major Leagues, but also off the field “as he navigated the American sports landscape and the country’s ever-evolving cultural backdrop, all while helping to define what it means to be one of America’s first Black sports superstars.”
“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 film’s director. “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. Willie was schooled in life and baseball by his father Cat and Negro League players. Later, Willie looked out for scores of young Black players, including his godson Barry Bonds. An epic American life.”
Mays was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979. He debuted with the New York Giants at 20 in 1951. He played 21 seasons with the Giants, covering the organization’s New York and San Francisco stints. Mays won two MVP Awards, made 24 All-Star teams and won a World Series title in 1954, when he made perhaps the most famous play in baseball history, “The Catch,” which happens to be celebrating its 68th anniversary on Thursday, Sept. 29.
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