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Willie Mays

Willie Mays

Position(s):
OF, CF, SS, 1B, 3B, LF, RF
Nicknames:
Say Hey Kid
Born:
May 6, 1931
Bats:
Right
Throws:
Right
Height:
5' 10"
Weight:
170 lbs
Major League Debut:
5-25-1951 with NY1
Allstar Selections:
1951 ROOK, 1954 ML, 1954 MVP, 1957 GG, 1958 GG, 1959 GG, 1960 GG, 1961 GG, 1962 GG, 1963 AsMVP, 1963 GG, 1964 GG, 1965 GG, 1965 MVP, 1966 GG, 1967 GG, 1968 AsMVP, 1968 GG, 1971 RC
Hall of Fame:
1979

The Say Hey Kid in Action!

 

Quotes About Willie Mays

"I've played with him and against him, and as far as I'm concerned there never could have been any better center fielder." — Red Schoendienst on Willie Mays 

 

"Willie Mays was the finest player I ever saw, make no mistake about it. He could carry a team for a month at a time by himself. But, because he was so skilled, he was able to get away with a lot of things he did wrong on the field, and it was hard for him to show the younger players how to get the job done." — Willie McCovey

Quotes From Willie Mays

"I don't know why they call me that. I don't ever get excited. I just play my game and let others get excited." Willie Mays in 1957, when told he was considered the most exciting player in the game.

 

Best Season: 1954

It all depends on which Mays you want - the young speedster who stole bases or - the older slugger who still ran well and fielded like a champ. I chose 1954 primarily because he was still swiping some bases (24 in 28 tries) and his team won the World Series largely because of him. He led the NL in batting, slugging, triples, runs created, OPS, and TA. He belted 41 homers and had a .415 OBP. In the World Series his catch of Vic Wertz's deep drive won the opener. He was a young lion in 1954 with many more great years ahead.

The Catch!

Wait, Wait, Swing!

According to experimenst done on his swing, Mays was .05 seconds faster than other hitters, giving Willie nearly 20 percent longer to wait on a pitch. Therefore, he was able to delay his swing until the ball was six feet closer to the plate than most other hitters.

 

Description

Mays still garners consideration by many as the greatest player of all-time. He was the original "five-tool player," possessing the ability to hit, hit for power, run, throw, and field. He retired with 660 home runs, but he was far more than a slugger. He swiped more than 300 bases and was the best defensive center fielder of his era. Mays deserves his ranking as one of the game's elite superstars. As a young player, Mays was fun-loving and gregarious, earning the nickname "Say Hey" for his catch-phrase at the ballpark. He was known to frequent the streets of New York, playing stickball with children and handing out his autograph. As he grew older, and after the Giants moved to San Francisco, Mays cooled to the media and became more aloof. As he began to pile up home runs, it was Mays, not Aaron, who was seen as the threat to Babe Ruth's record. Eventually, it was Mays' bad legs that kept him from breaking the mark. Mays was lalmost universally loved by his teammates, and he often helped younger players become acclimated to the big leagues. Mays tutored Bobby Bonds, who later made Mays his son's godfather. That son became Barry Bonds. Mays was a tremendous athlete, and perhaps his baseball skills can best be summed up in the fact that from 1957-1966, he finished no lower than sixth in NL MVP voting every year. He won the Award twice and became the first player to reach 3,000 hits and 500 homers.

 

Nine Other Players Who Debuted in 1951

Willie Mays

Mickey Mantle

Roy McMillan

Pete Runnels

Frank Thomas

Johnny Logan

Bob Friend

Rocky Bridges

Gil McDougald

 

Uniform Numbers

#24 (1951-1952, 1954-1973)

 

Similar Players

Ken Griffey Jr. has some similarities but there's no one truly comparable to Willie Mays... A few of the players who were compared to Mays: Mickey Mantle, Duke Snider, Frank Robinson, Vada Pinson, Bobby Bonds, Cesar Cedeno, Barry Bonds, Ken Griffey Jr.

 

Related Players

Mickey Mantle, Duke Snider, Bobby Bonds, Barry Bonds

 

Feats

Willie Mays, Hank Aaron, Eddie Murray and Rafael Palmeiro are the only players to collect both 500 homers and 3,000 hits.

Milestones 

August 7, 1955: 100th HR...

May 23, 1958: 200th HR...

July 4, 1961: 300th HR...

August 27, 1963: 400th HR... Off Curt Simmons

September 13, 1965: 500th HR... Came against Don Nottebart.

September 22, 1969: 600th HR...

July 18, 1970: 3000th Hit... Mike Wegener surrendered Mays' 3,000th hit, which was a single.

 

Batting Feats 

May 13, 1958: 15 Total Bases...

 

April 30, 1961: 4 HR... Mays used teammate Joey Amalfitano's bat during the game... His sixth inning homer cleared the left field bleachers and left County Stadium... Mays was on deck in the top of 9th when the third out was made, ruining his chance at five homers... Giants won the game, 14-4... Eight homers were hit by the Giants in the game, including two by Orlando Cepeda... Hank Aaron hit two homers and drove in all of the Braves' runs... Billy Loes earned the victory, and it was the fourth time he had been in uniform for a four-homer game. He was with the Dodgers in 1950 and 1954 for Hodges' and Adcock's four-homer games and had been with the Orioles in 1959 when Colavito went deep four times.

 

Notes

Mays is one of the few players to hit four homers in a game... He accumulated twenty steals and homers in the same season six straight years.

 

Hitting Streaks 

21 games (1954)

21 games (1957)

20 games (1964)

18 games (1965)

Transactions

Signed as an amateur free agent by New York Giants (1950); traded by San Francisco Giants to New York Mets in exchange for Charlie Williams and $50,000 (May 11, 1972).

 

 

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Tagged:
1954 World Series, 1962 World Series, 3000 hit club, All Star, Baseball History, Gold Glove, Hall of Fame, Members of the 500 Home Run Club, New York Giants, New York Mets, Rookie of the Year Award, San Francisco Giants, Willie Mays
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