Skip to content

Majority Leader Schumer Floor Remarks On The Life And Legacy Of Baseball Legend Willie Mays

Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) today spoke on the Senate floor on the passing of baseball legend, Willie Mays.  Below are Senator Schumer’s remarks, which can also be viewed here:

On Tuesday, the world of baseball said goodbye to one of the greatest athletes and greatest human beings – he was one of the greatest Americans – to ever play the game, Willie Mays. He died in Palo Alto at the age of 93.

Many call Willie Mays the greatest five-tool player in the history of baseball. But even that sells it laughably short. What Willie Mays meant to the game, what he meant to New York, what he meant to America can never be recorded with statistics. He was a living embodiment of America itself: born in the segregated south, served in the Army, captured the hearts of millions from New York to San Francisco by dominating America’s pastime, at a time when black players were just beginning to ascend into the major leagues.

He’d play stickball with kids on the streets of Harlem, get swarmed by admirers at the Red Rooster, and he was simply one of the nicest and coolest and most magnetic Americans who ever lived. That combination – nice, cool, and magnetic – it’s a rarity, it’s a rarity in anyone. And there it was in Willie Mays.

Now, when I was growing up, Mickey Mantle was my guy. I was a Yankee fan, so we were on the receiving end of Willie May’s awesome powers. I was too young to remember the 1951 World Series, but I knew what was passed down from the older kids on the street, how Willie Mays was an incredible competitor, as well as someone who was kind at the same time. Of the many things that Willie Mays taught us, one is that you can be great and kind at once.

So, this week, New York and America says thank you, thank you, thank you to one of the greatest ever. And I doubt we’ll ever see anyone like Willie Mays ever again.