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Willie Mays, perhaps the greatest player in baseball history, died on Tuesday night at the age of 93. He was a Hall of Fame center fielder and a 24-time All-Star best known for his two decade-plus stint with the Giants (both in New York and San Francisco). To this day, Mays not only remains one of four players to record more than 600 home runs and 3,000 hits, he also ranks fifth all-time in Wins Above Replacement, according to Baseball Reference's estimates, with 156.2.

Mays' legacy is bigger and more significant than any statistic, of course. Even if the scope is limited to only his on-the-field contributions, he'll forever be remembered for his running basket catch during Game 1 of the 1954 World Series against the present-day Cleveland Guardians. He was also tagged with one of the most recognizable nicknames in the sport's history: the "Say Hey Kid." 

Yet, for as famous as Mays' nickname is -- and mind you, it was immortalized in a song by The Treniers -- its origins remain relatively obscure, down to who coined it in the first place.

Indeed, USA Today noted that Mays credited sportswriter Jimmy Cannon for the nickname. Other sources have attributed it to New York Journal American scribe Barney Kremenko, who came up with it after witnessing how often Mays would use "hey" in place of "hello" in introductions. Mays, ESPN once quoted Kremenko as writing, "would blurt 'Say who,' 'Say what,' 'Say where,' 'Say hey.' In my paper, I tabbed him the 'Say Hey Kid.' It stuck."

Biographer James S. Hirsch noted in his 2010 book that the "Say Hey Kid" nickname arrived after failed attempts to christen Mays as "Willie the Wonder," "the Amazin' Mays," and "the Minneapolis Marvel." It's fair to write that none of those deserved association with a player as brilliant and historically meaningful as Mays. "In 1970, Sports Illustrated mourned: 'It has been 15 years, probably since Mays last actually said 'Say Hey!'" Hirsch wrote. "Mays made no effort to set the record straight. He always enjoyed being 'the Say Hey Kid.'"

Here's hoping Mays continues to be remembered -- for his contributions to society and baseball, and for his unique nickname, for a long time to come.