Willie Mays

Credit Line
John W. Mosley Photograph Collection, Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection, Temple University Libraries, Philadelphia, PA

Willie Mays (born 1931) is considered one of the most talented baseball players of all time. For most of his twenty seasons in Major League Baseball, he played outfield for the New York Giants (the team later moved to San Francisco) and he remains among the top-ten all time hitters of home runs. He finished his professional career in 1973, playing for the New York Mets.

Mosley photographs Mays in a visit to Philadelphia, signing autographs for an enthusiastic crowd. Dressed in an elegant suit, Mays mounts a staircase with center fielder Don Richard (Richie) Ashburn and pitcher Curt Simmons (at the far right). Simmons played 13 seasons for the Philadelphia Phillies. Ashburn had a 15 year major league career, playing for the Phillies from 1948–1959. After Ashburn retired, he became the voice of the Phillies as a member of the television-radio broadcasting team where he called the games for 35 years. Ashburn was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1995.

The square-shaped photograph has a strong diagonal composition from lower left to upper right, with, at its center, a young fan placing a pen in May’s hand. Mosley probably shot this picture on his square-format Rolleiflex in the mid-1960s, seamlessly integrating the significant moment of exchange between Mays and the fan with the larger context of crowded event.

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  • Willie Mays is pictured along with Phillies players Richie Ashburn and Dick Sisler.


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