By Sam Bush

Willie Mays somehow managed to track down a fast-traveling ball with an over-the-shoulder catch that became the most iconic moment in the Hall of Famer’s decorated career that featured 660 home runs.

It simply became known as The Catch.”

But there was little simple about it. The Say Hey Kid’s superb grab of a drive hit by Cleveland’s Vic Wertz in Game 1 of the 1954 World Series against the favored Indians will always be one of his finest moments, also a key in the New York Giants’ 4-0 sweep to win the championship.

“It wasn’t no lucky catch,” Mays emphatically noted years later.

Not at all.

The play showed off the mesmerizing skill of one of the most talented players ever to step on a baseball field and was considered by many to be the Greatest Living Ballplayer before he died at age 93 on Tuesday.

“Yeah, that was the key right there, I thought,” Mays recalled in April 2014. “Because if I hadn’t caught that, you gotta get three runs some kind of way. Vic would have been on third some kind of way and the other two would have scored. So I think that was the key to the whole World Series.”

It was a play that is as famous as any in the grand history of baseball and was memorialized at the time by the Hall of Fame broadcaster Jack Brickhouse, who said: “Willie Mays just brought this crowd to its feet with a catch which must have been an optical illusion to a lot of people!”

To Mays, it was just another play that happened to come on the game’s biggest stage.

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