Dodgers Team News

The Surprising Dodgers Connection to Willie Mays’ Legend

Tributes from around the baseball world poured in this week for Willie Mays. The oldest living Hall of Famer at the time of his death Tuesday at age 93, Mays spent the bulk of a professional career spanning four decades torturing the Dodgers with the Giants and New York Mets.

The Dodgers released a tribute statement in the wake of Mays’ passing, saying “no finer rival” existed.



Mays might have been the Dodgers’ archenemy but, as described in a report this week in The Athletic, there’s a surprising connection between the Dodgers and Mays. At his peak with the New York Giants, Epic Records released “Say Hey (the Willie Mays Song),” a frequently played novelty tune that got plenty of YouTube views this week.

The lyrics were written by — wait for it — a Brooklyn Dodgers fan named Dick Kleiner. As reported by The Athletic,

(Ted Worner, the A&R Director at Epic Records) enlisted a young composer named Jane Douglass to write the music. He found a journalist named Dick Kleiner to crank out the lyrics. According to his son Peter, Kleiner was a Dodgers fan who was left brokenhearted when the club eventually left for Los Angeles. But he pushed aside his fandom and penned the song’s refrain: “That Giants kid is great.”

When Epic Records agreed to a record deal, the result was “Say Hey (The Willie Mays Song),” a novelty recording performed by The Treniers, an R&B group from Alabama, and arranged by a young Quincy Jones, who would go on to become one of the most legendary producers in music history.

— via The Athletic

Some 70 years later, the “Say Hey Kid” is gone, but one thing remains true: Willie Mays was great.

Photo Credit: Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

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JP Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra writes and edits Major League Baseball content for DodgersNation.com and is the author of 'The 50 Greatest Dodger Games Of All Time.' He once recorded a keyboard solo on the same album as two of the original Doors. Follow at https://x.com/jphoornstra

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