Jump to content

Why is Willie Mays Catch So Good?


ShinyHubCaps

Recommended Posts

Two nights ago, I stayed up until 1:30 watching FSN's count of the 40 Best Catches in sports. There was a good mix of football and baseball (no rugby), and there was MLB, college, and international baseball spanning many years, and NFL, high school, and NCAA football spanning many years as well.

So, among all of the possible catches from all of these events that they could have possibly chosen, the #2 catch on the list was the Willie Mays basket catch. Compared to everything around it, the catch looked relatively unspectacular.

1.) He did not have to run very far/great displacement to reach the ball.

2.) He did not dive, slide, lay out, tumble, or anything.

3.) There was relatively no bobble, just maybe a little off the wrist.

For these reasons, the catch was not that spectacular, yet it was #2 on a list of the top 40 out of thousands of catches in sports. Why? What makes this catch so great? Is it just blind love for Willie Mays? The other black-and-white baseball catch on the list wasn't that great either, but at least it sank to around #20, which was still higher than it belonged.

Fans of the basket catch, defend your case. To me, it seemed pretty unspectacular.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think it has to do with the situation, being that it was in the World Series and all. Not only that, if he doesn't make the catch, that's probably a triple or an inside-the-parker considering how massive the outfield at the Polo Grounds was.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

He caught that ball somewhere around 450 feet away from home plate, then turned and gunned the ball back to keep the runners from advancing.

I think there are better catches that have been made, but for the situation its still one of the best.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

He didn't run that far? Are you on crack? That wall was about 450 ft. from home plate at the Polo Grounds (just how deep do you think he was playing?)! Also, consider the situation: runners on first and second in the top of the eighth of a 2-2 game. He doesn't catch that ball, two runs, at least score (if not an inside the park HR), and the Giants likely don't win that game. That catch is the turning point of the 1954 World Series...

Moose

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Yeah, we've been accustomed to seeing just a snippet of it, but he ran much farther in live action, full speed. The situation, the era, the fact that nobody else was doing stuff he was doing. That's why.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

He didn't run that far? Are you on crack? That wall was about 450 ft. from home plate at the Polo Grounds (just how deep do you think he was playing?)! Also, consider the situation: runners on first and second in the top of the eighth of a 2-2 game. He doesn't catch that ball, two runs, at least score (if not an inside the park HR), and the Giants likely don't win that game. That catch is the turning point of the 1954 World Series...

Moose

Yeah, let's remark again: Polo Grounds... very, very, very huge the centefield... Mays caught the ball very near of the backdoor where players changed their clothes.

Does anyone remember Tiger Stadium's centerfield? The Polo Grounds' CF is more deeper than the one of Tiger Stadium. Or let's play in EA Sports 2005 MVP Baseball using Polo Grounds as ballpark... you can see how huge it was there at CF...

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I think most of the correct points have been made--The situation is what makes it huge. If you take all catches in a vacuum (regardless of situation), then that is not in the top 10, but throwing in the polo grounds and the throw* it is still pretty nice. It is also the mystique of that catch at that time in history. Most regular season games were not seen by many people and there was no SportsCenter to show it to all of us. Maybe the best catch ever was made in 1911 by Ty Cobb, but nobody was around to see it.

*From what I undstand, the throw that Mays made was unreal. However, at thet time, the camerwork was minimal vs. today and it was not captured. I guess you had to be there.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The catch is just one part of it, (plus it was over the head, not easy), but he also had the presence to immediately spin around and gun the ball back into the infield... it was all around spectacular if you are a true fan of baseball.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Running to the deepest part of probably the deepest CF in MLB history + over the head catch + incredible arm to keep the runners from advancing + WORLD FREAKIN' SERIES = AMAZING FREAKIN' CATCH.

That was probably the most difficult situation for a catch, and not only did he make the catch, he did everything else after catch perfectly in order to preserve runs. There are only two words: Perfect and amazing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Running to the deepest part of probably the deepest CF in MLB history + over the head catch + incredible arm to keep the runners from advancing + WORLD FREAKIN' SERIES = AMAZING FREAKIN' CATCH.

It wasn't the deepest part actually, the furthest part at Polo Grounds was 483ft to dead centrefield, Willie was almost there at 449

Polo_Grounds_Dia.gif

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Running to the deepest part of probably the deepest CF in MLB history + over the head catch + incredible arm to keep the runners from advancing + WORLD FREAKIN' SERIES = AMAZING FREAKIN' CATCH.

It wasn't the deepest part actually, the furthest part at Polo Grounds was 483ft to dead centrefield, Willie was almost there at 449

Polo_Grounds_Dia.gif

Woops.

That's still pretty damn deep. But WOW, it got to 483??? Imagine hitting a HR to dead center? That's a grown-ass-man HR.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

(1) It was the first-ever "SportsCenter moment" most baseball fans had ever seen. Television was a young medium at the time and it was rare to catch a truly amazing play on camera. While it's commonplace now, it hardly was at the time.

(2) The Polo Grounds was truly a unique facility; one which really should never have been used for baseball because of its odd dimensions. That said however, I'd love to see a modern team try to build a park with anything close to those dimensions - people'd raise holy hell.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Running to the deepest part of probably the deepest CF in MLB history + over the head catch + incredible arm to keep the runners from advancing + WORLD FREAKIN' SERIES = AMAZING FREAKIN' CATCH.

It wasn't the deepest part actually, the furthest part at Polo Grounds was 483ft to dead centrefield, Willie was almost there at 449

Polo_Grounds_Dia.gif

Woops.

That's still pretty damn deep. But WOW, it got to 483??? Imagine hitting a HR to dead center? That's a grown-ass-man HR.

If a hit was going to 483 and the hitter can run, it surely would be a quiet inside-the-park HR. Almost the same thing with the CF of the old Griffith Stadium (the Senators' ballpark).

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Speaking of overrated, I think the Jim Edmonds catch diving over-the-shoulder catch is overrated because it was against the Royals :D

Yep, that was #1.

I remember the Polo Grounds from MVP Baseball 2005 (sadly still the best baseball game out there), and I'd get little slap home runs to RF because the wall is 258 at the pole.

I didn't know much of the situation, just because the highlight said only that it was in the World Series, not the inning, not where the runners were, or anything. My point remains that an important catch should be far distinguished from a spectacular one, which was the theme of the show. If it were big plays, then that could hold #2, right after "The Play" of Cal vs. Stanford.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Granted, Jim Edmonds is practically a god to me, but his catch IS the best catch I've ever seen. In fact, it's what made him my favorite player back when it happened.

He may be a prick, as I've heard, but he was nice enough to sign my baseball.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I, too, would have made Mays' catch No. 2. The thing is historical. When people talk about greatest catches ever, that one is one of the first ones that would pop up in conversation.

But I would have made the Immaculate Reception No. 1. The catch was historical like Mays' catch, surreal the way Franco Harris came up to catch the ball and so good it was given its own name. How can that not be No. 1?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I, too, would have made Mays' catch No. 2. The thing is historical. When people talk about greatest catches ever, that one is one of the first ones that would pop up in conversation.

But I would have made the Immaculate Reception No. 1. The catch was historical like Mays' catch, surreal the way Franco Harris came up to catch the ball and so good it was given its own name. How can that not be No. 1?

Well, this football catch already has its own name: Immaculate Reception. So it leaves to the Mays' catch as the Catch. :D

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

Guest
This topic is now closed to further replies.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.