With the Say Hey Kid, there’s always more to say, and, in this unusual mix of memoir, self-help, and baseball history, Mays and coauthor John Shea, longtime San Francisco Chronicle sportswriter, find a thoroughly engaging way to say it ... This approach, along with the book’s structure, which combines Shea’s narrative with Mays’ commentary, makes it possible to provide revealing detail about even the most-discussed events in the Mays highlight reel, and it gives Mays, who will turn 90 in 2021, the opportunity to reflect on the game and how to play it. Testimony from a host of past and present players, along with presidents and other notables, all inspired by Mays’ example, drives home the point that there’s never been anyone quite like number 24.
Throughout the years, Mays has been relatively circumspect when discussing his experiences with racism. He continues that trend here, save for his recollections of trying to buy a house in a fancy neighborhood in San Francisco. He’d rather focus on the positive . The book offers tidbits heretofore unrevealed to the casual baseball reader ... 24 comes across as a throwback ... There is no gossip, animosity or the dishing of dirt that we have come to expect ... Instead, Mays is gentle and generous when discussing his relationships with Mickey Mantle and Duke Snider, the two other legendary New York outfielders (the Yankees and the Dodgers, respectively), as well as with teammates and opponents.