During my spare time this week between triumphant skaters and repentant golfers, I read James Hirsch’s new biography, “Willie Mays: The Life, The Legend’’
I can report this without fear of contradiction: It’s long.
But should you buy it and/or read it? Yes, with qualifications.
As the first biography the famously reticent Mays has authorized, there is a trove of information about the Hall of Famer's life, much of it not previously reported in such detail.
That includes his complicated early family life and his relationships with his parents and wives.
While taking a generally sympathetic stance on most issues surrounding Mays, the book does not sugar-coat his prickly side or topics such as his disinterest in political stands – for which Jackie Robinson bluntly criticized him.
The book’s greatest shortcoming is a function not of the author’s work but of Mays’ personality.
While Mays’ authorization helped yield a thorough account of his life and times, his disinclination toward introspection often leaves us wondering what he was thinking while all of it unfolded.