Willie Mays – Baseball Legend and Adoptive Parent


Baseball season is just around the corner! Come Opening Day (March 31), jerseys, foam fingers, peanuts, Crackerjacks, crazy fans, and the smell of ballpark hotdogs will fill Minute Maid Park as the Texas Rangers take on the Houston Astros. As players continue to push through Spring Training and look forward to games in the coming weeks, they always remember the legendary players that came before them; the great players that inspired them to play and who broke records to make baseball history. Willie Mays is one of those legendary players, and also happens to be an adoptive parent!

Willie Mays, commonly referred to as the “Say Hey Kid”, is considered one of the greatest baseball players of all time. Born in 1931, Willie grew up in his father’s house in Westfield, Alabama and learned to catch a baseball before he could even walk. He was an all-around athlete in high school, and signed with the New York Giants right after graduation. Willie continued to play for the Giants as they moved to San Francisco in 1958 where he became the highest paid player in baseball history. Hitting homerun number 512, he was the first to break Mel Ott’s National League record for home runs. Then in 1972 he returned to New York to play for the Mets before ending his career with 660 home runs, and playing in four World Series Championships. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame his first year of eligibility in 1979. Both Willie’s father and grandfather had been baseball players before him when leagues were still segregated.


Off the field, Willie became a father to his son three years after marrying wife Marghuerite. This quote comes from My Life in and Out of Baseball by Willie Mays, talking about his domestically adopted son Michael. Parents and adoptive parents alike can relate to Willie’s feelings and thoughts.

“It was in ’56 that Marghuerite and I were married. She had a daughter by her first marriage and in ’59, in San Francisco, she and I were to go to an adoption agency, and that is how my son Michael came to live with us. He was three days old when we adopted him. I don’t know what the chemistry was, but from the first moment I set eyes on him, I knew this was it. And it’s been that way ever since… All I can say is, he changed my life, my purpose, my outlook.”

Baseball games and other sporting events are a fun and easy way to introduce your adopted child(ren) to American culture. It is a great time for families to bond, share wonderful memories, and create special traditions. Getting matching jerseys made for your family could be an exciting way to get the whole family involved and create a sense of belonging for children.


Photo Credit 1:Boston Public Library

Photo Credit 2:Andrew Morrell

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Jordan Kelly is a graduate of the Kelley School of Business where she majored in Marketing. As an assistant at MLJ Adoptions, Jordan does everything from event planning and managing social media, to writing blogs and designing advertisements.