FUTURE: "Have you ever seen a 39-year-old with a body like that?" asks Johnson. Mays is even trimmer than he was last year. He has the kind of compact, slim-legged build that supports a long career. After the All-Star Game, three days before Friday's chiller in San Francisco, Mays looked ghastly, but he is healthier this year than he has been for some time, and earlier in the season he said he could go two or three more years. He has said he wants to manage and that he doesn't want to manage.
When Mays is poised in the outfield or at bat he still seems more eager, or anxious, than anybody else. He has the air of that kid in a pickup game who has more ability and fire than the others and wishes intensely that they would come on and play right and raise the whole game to a level commensurate with his own gifts and appetites. Mays does not say so, but it is hard not to suspect that he feels that way toward it all—the fans, the park, the press. And these days he must finally be saying, "Come on, play right" to himself, too. When he does, and when he responds as he has over the last two weeks, Frank Johnson is not the only one who is thrilled to death.