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Willie Mays
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Willie Mays

Willie Howard Mays, Jr. (born May 6, 1931) is a former star of Major League Baseball. Mays, nicknamed The Say Hey Kid, played center field throughout his career, save for a few games at first base near the end of his career, and is regarded as one of the finest defensive players to ever field the position. Mays also had tremendous batting skills; he is among the few players to have hit more than 50 home runs in each of two or more seasons. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, in 1979. Mays finished with a career batting average of .302, 660 home runs and 1902 runs batted in. He was a member of the 30-30 club twice and is one of only a few players in the 300-300 club.

He began his professional career with the Birmingham Black Barons of the Negro American League in 1947. The New York Giants, who had purchased his contract in 1950, called him up to the major leagues in 1951 from the Minneapolis Millers, upon which he won the Rookie of the Year Award. He then served in the U.S. Army in the Korean War, missing part of the 1952 season and all of the 1953 season. He returned to the Giants in 1954, winning the National League Most Valuable Player Award and leading them to a World Series victory, a four-game sweep of the Cleveland Indians. Mays is remembered for making one of the greatest defensive plays of all time in Game 1 of the series, known as "The Catch". Mays made an over-the-shoulder catch off a long drive to deep center field by Vic Wertz, which helped keep the score tied. In 1954 Mays won the Hickok Belt as top professional athlete of the year.

Mays moved along with the Giants to San Francisco for the 1958 season. The Giants made the World Series in 1962, only to lose to the New York Yankees in seven games. Mays won his second of two Most Valuable Player Awards in 1965. He continued to play with that franchise until partway through the 1972 season, when he joined the New York Mets. He played with them until his retirement after the 1973 season. The Mets made the World Series in Mays' final year, only to lose in seven games to the Oakland Athletics.

Mays' number 24 is retired by the San Francisco Giants. Their home ballpark, SBC Park, is located at 24 Willie Mays Plaza and the right-field wall is 24-feet high, both in honor of Mays.

Mays is the godfather of baseball star Barry Bonds.

Table of contents
1 Regular season stats
2 See also
3 External links

Regular season stats

G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG TB SH HBP
29921088120623283523140660190333810314641526.302.384.55760661344

See also

External links