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Willie Mays
Centerfielder, Right-handed; New York & San Francisco Giants 1951-1972;
New York Mets 1973

Willie Mays is ranked as one of the greatest players in the history of the game. The 'Say Hey' kid could do it all. He ran like the wind, tracking down long fly balls, making unbelievable catches and threw out opposing base-runners trying to advance. Willie's great fielding held many opposing hitters' sure doubles or triples to mere singles.  He could hit for average or power long home runs. Willie was a top base runner and seemed to fly around the bases.

In 1951, Willie Mays was 'Rookie of the Year.' Wonderful Willie began to display his raw talents with a dash of showmanship as he helped the N.Y. Giants capture the National League pennant.  After serving in the U.S. Military for two years, Mays returned in 1954 at the age of 23 and led the major leagues with a .345 batting average led the league with 41 homers, scored 119 times with 110 RBI's, was voted the National League's 'Most Valuable Player' and led the Giants to another pennant. His great defensive plays in the World Series enabled the Giants to sweep the Indians and become the World Champions.  The following season, Mays belted 51 home runs to lead the major leagues, he scored 123 times with 127 RBI's and only struck out 60 times while batting .319 and stole 24 bases.

In his great career the crunching bat of Willie Mays produced a record 22 extra inning homers, Babe Ruth is second with 16. When Willie Mays retired he had hit 660 home runs, only Babe Ruth had more. Mays played in at least 150 games in a season in 13 different years; only Cal Ripken has played more. Mays won the 'Most Valuable Player' twice, he led the NL in home runs in four different years, twice hitting over 50.  He won the batting title once, finished second three times, and finished third twice. Mays led the league in triples in 1954, 1955, and 1957. Twice he led in runs scored, 1958 & 1961.  He was the top player in slugging pct in 1954, 1955, 1957, 1964 and 1965. He also led in walks and on-base-pct in 1971.  Defensively, Mays is the all-time leader in outfield putouts and chances.  Willie was a one-of-a-kind centerfielder, twice he grabbed drives bare handed on the fly.  'Hall of Famer', Harry Hopper, who played next to Tris Speaker for six seasons, said, "Mays was the best outfielder ever".

Willie Mays finished with a .302 career batting mark, with 3283 career hits and powered 660 home runs, scored 2062 runs, had 1903 RBI's and stole 338 bases.



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