Willie Mays-The Over-the-Shoulder Catch

Item added by ellis. Added on 12/18/2003
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9 Reviews

oldiesmusicfan 101
08/15/2008

Willie Mays-The Over-the-Shoulder Catch 5

A truly amazing and spectacular catch. The video on this catch is slightly deceiving on showing how difficult this catch really was.

Consider that at the Polo Grounds straight away center was 483 feet to the wall. To put that in context most ballparks today have straight away center at 420-430 feet. The ball was hit roughly 475 feet, as a rising liner hangtime of probably less then 2 seconds. Watch the tape, Mays is at full speed by the time you see him, (meaning in less than a half a second he's already judged the ball). He then runs 200 feet to catch the ball, and wheels and throws, to hold the runners. If that isn't a great play I don't know what is.

An interesting side note, the pitcher who pitched to Wertz was brought in just for him, and upon being replaced he said to his replacement, with a straight face, "Well, I got my guy."

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SirKayGee
01/18/2005

Willie Mays-The Over-the-Shoulder Catch 2

Mays went a long way to get the ball, but the ball hung in the air for quite a while, certainly not a searing line drive. It appears that Mays did not get a great jump off the bat, and he definitely didn't take a flawless route to the ball. Most importantly, if all of the players were so certain that the ball wouldn't be caught, then his impressive throw back to the infield should have resulted in a double play, no?

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irishgit
11/29/2004

Willie Mays-The Over-the-Shoulder Catch 5

If anyone thinks they're seeing plays like this on Sportscentre every night, they must be watching a different edition than I see. Given the circumstances and the consequences of the event, let alone the athleticism, it is one of the great moments in World Series history.

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CanadaSucks
11/28/2004

Willie Mays-The Over-the-Shoulder Catch 3

Overrated. Mays had much better catches. The throw was equal to or better than the catch itself. . .

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numbah16tdhaha
11/28/2004

Willie Mays-The Over-the-Shoulder Catch 5

Best catch ever.

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weedie
06/29/2004

Willie Mays-The Over-the-Shoulder Catch 5

I think most of these critics are way off base. No one is seeing catches like this every night on sportscenter for the basic reason that Wertz's hit would be a homerun in every current major league park. It was a searing line drive of 440 to 460 feet which Mays ran down. Few thought any other centerfielder of his time could have caught it and I think it's speculation if any of the centerfielders of today could. They never have to go that far for a ball. The best catch, in my judgement, is the one that the great fielder makes but a lesser player could not. Swoboda's catch is a good example of an overrated play. A slow outfielder sprawls to make a heart-in-your-mouth catch of a fly that a fielder like Mays would have caught easily. Given that Mays' catch turned a World Servies game, and perhaps a World Series, around, and was made by probably the only player of the time who could have made it, it deserves its reputation as the most famous fielding play of all time.

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jamestkirk
06/01/2004

Willie Mays-The Over-the-Shoulder Catch 5

Certainly one of the greatest individual plays in baseball history.

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magellan
01/14/2004

Willie Mays-The Over-the-Shoulder Catch 3

It might be just me, but don't we see spectacular over the shoulder catches just about every night on Sportscenter? Aren't those Tori Hunter over the wall catches more impressive? I have no doubt that this catch was a big deal at the time, or that Willie Mays was a great fielder - it's just that this particular play doesn't seem to have aged very well.

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CCB669
01/06/2004

Willie Mays-The Over-the-Shoulder Catch 3

Great catch for that time, but has been repeated by other players lately.

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