Will They Yahtzee Willie’s “The Catch”

A “cartoon yahtzee” is when five or more editorial cartoonists draw a similar approach to a news story.

Leo O’Mealia for The New York Daily News the day after The Catch

“The Catch” is Willie Mays refusing the Cleveland Indians an eighth inning run and probable win of game one in the 1954 World Series (Willie stealing second in the tenth inning also helped win the game for the New York Giants.

The day after that Game One newspapers around the country were amazed at young Willie’s catch and the return throw that kept on base Indians from scoring the go ahead run.

Bill Lee of The Hartford Courant on the day after the first game of the World Series:

The 23 year old Mays would play professional baseball for another 19 years, until 1973, ending a spectacular career with many honors and records culminating in his entry to The Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility.

With so many defensive and offensive moments in his storied career “The Catch” always remained a highlight. So when it came time for a cartoon obituary that event from 70 years earlier was a sure image.

Afficionado JD Crowe includes a eulogy with his cartoon, praising and thanking Willie for elevating the game.

Willie Mays has been promoted to a seat high above Rickwood Field for Thursday’s baseball game that’s being played in his honor. As Joe Goodman writes: “The fateful timing is extraordinary if not divine.”

With the passing of Mays this week, Rickwood Field is now a cathedral to celebrate the life of baseball’s greatest player.

Not all cartoonists went with that one highlight of Mays’ career.

Jeff Stahler shows that The Catch wasn’t all there was to the 12 time Golden Glover, while Drew Litton shows one of Willie’s offensive talents (stealing bases was another). Tom Stiglich, below, shows just a few of the things that made Willie the legend he is.

Above Mike Luckovich and Jack Ohman go metaphysical.

“Mays played the game with pure joy, and that was his greatest gift of all.” – Joe Goodman

1959 card © Topps