Skip to main content
Trade Books For Courses Tradebooks for Courses


Life Stories and Lessons from the Say Hey Kid

Willie Mays and John Shea; Foreword by Bob Costas

St. Martin's Griffin

24 Download image

ISBN10: 125082835X
ISBN13: 9781250828354

Trade Paperback

352 Pages



Request Desk Copy
Request Exam Copy


Sign up to receive information about new books, author events, and special offers.

Sign up now

Widely regarded as the greatest all-around player in baseball history because of his unparalleled hitting, defense and base-running, the beloved Willie Mays offers people of all ages his lifetime of experience meeting challenges with positivity, integrity and triumph in 24: Life Stories and Lessons from the Say Hey Kid.

Presented in 24 chapters to correspond with his universally recognized uniform number, Willie’s memoir provides more than the story of his role in America’s pastime. This is the story of a man who values family and community, engages in charitable causes especially involving children and follows a philosophy that encourages hope, hard work and the fulfillment of dreams.


Praise for 24

"His new memoir will remind fans of why we love baseball so much."—Tyler Kepner, The New York Times

"Willie's the greatest all-around player of all time. You listen to his stories, you learn so much . . . Nobody tells stories like Willie."—Dave Roberts, Manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers

"24: Life Stories and Lessons from the Say Hey Kid is a welcome treat. It’s also a salute to what the game used to be, not only before the pandemic but before it got too big. Back when it was a game played for the love of it, by guys who still lived in the neighborhood."—Jacqueline Cutler, New York Daily News

"Eloquent and inspirational, Mays’ words serve as a glue for the text, bringing readers inside the clubhouse at pivotal moments and revealing Mays’ philosophy on sports, camaraderie and a life well lived. More than a baseball history, 24 feels akin to a fireside chat with a sports hero brimming with wisdom."—Zack Ruskin, San Francisco Chronicle Datebook

"This book shows off the best parts of Mays, and is a delightful read."—Rich Dubroff, Baltimore Baseball

"It's because of giants like Willie that someone like me could even think about running for president."—President Barack Obama

“We sat and talked a long time about baseball, which really helped me more than anything in the world, sitting and talking to him about baseball.”—Hank Aaron

"Shea chronicles Mays’s life and legacy with attention, detail, and awe . . . [a] definitive work about a living legend."Publishers Weekly

“This unusual mix of memoir, self-help, and baseball history . . . drives home the point that there's never been anyone quite like number 24.”Booklist

"[Mays’] upbeat personality shines even when discussing difficult topics . . . Baseball fans of all ages and anyone seeking inspiration will enjoy memories and motivation shared in a warm, joyous manner by the irrepressible Say Hey Kid."Library Journal (starred review)

Reviews from Goodreads


Read an Excerpt



The Story of 24

“People judge you all kinds of ways. Let them say what they want. Be your own judge. Trust your heart.”

—Willie Mays

WILLIE MAYS WAS twenty-six years...

About the author

Willie Mays and John Shea; Foreword by Bob Costas

WILLIE MAYS, forever the youthful Say Hey Kid, was a major-league center fielder for 22 seasons with the New York Giants, San Francisco Giants and New York Mets and played for the Birmingham Black Barons in the Negro Leagues. He hit 660 home runs, collected 3,283 hits, stole 338 bases, earned 12 Gold Gloves and played in 24 All-Star Games. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979.

JOHN SHEA is the award-winning national baseball columnist at the San Francisco Chronicle and Willie's longtime acquaintance. He has written several books, including the autobiography of Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson, Off Base: Confessions of a Thief. He is seen regularly on MLB Network.

Brad Mangin

Willie Mays

Official Links


John Shea

Official Links

Read Author Bio at