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From BR Bullpen
Willie Howard Mays Jr.
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 11", Weight 180 lb.
- Debut May 25, 1951
- Final Game September 9, 1973
- Born May 6, 1931 in Westfield, AL USA
 Biographical Information
"There have been only two geniuses in the world. Willie Mays and Willie Shakespeare." - Tallulah Bankhead
"This man dominates a game like no other player in the history of the game. I don't think there is any play he can't make." - Charlie Fox, Giants manager, 1971
Willie Mays is one of the three or four players who are considered when observers try to decide who is the game's all-time greatest player. He was the complete player, with tremendous home run power, incredible fielding ability, a high batting average, good on-base percentage, great speed, and a nice guy.
He hit a major league record 22 home runs in extra innings. He holds the major league record of 13 consecutive years of playing 150 or more games (1954-1966)
Mays homered in the first four games of 1971, a record. It would not be matched for 27 years until Mark McGwire tied it. Others have since followed suit.
Mays returned to New York in 1972 when the Giants traded him to the New York Mets for pitcher Charlie Williams. He had the game-winning RBI for the Mets in the 12th inning of Game 2 of the 1973 World Series, his next-to-last career game.
On February 2,1983, Hall of Famers Mays and Mickey Mantle accepted greeter positions at a casino in Atlantic City, NJ. The next day, Commissioner Bowie Kuhn banned both of them. On March 18, 1985, Commissioner Peter Ueberroth reinstated both men.
Mays guest-starred on several episodes of The Donna Reed Show, once with his longtime rival, pitcher Don Drysdale of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Each played himself. In keeping with his reputation for throwing high and tight, Drysdale threw one pitch that caused Mays to bend away to avoid being plunked. The plot concerned the players' competition to sign hot prospect Jeff Stone, Reed's son on the show, to one of their clubs. Actor Paul Petersen played the son. In keeping with the feel-good endings of 1960s sitcoms, Jeff elected to continue his education rather than seek a pro career. Mays also played himself on episodes of the TV sitcoms My Two Dads and Mr. Belvedere.
He provided his own voice in the cartoon special Willie Mays and the Say-Hey Kid in 1972.
 Notable Achievements
- 1951 NL Rookie of the Year Award
- 20-time NL All-Star (1954-1973)
- 2-time NL MVP (1954 & 1965)
- 1963 All-Star Game MVP
- 1968 All-Star Game MVP
- 12-time Gold Glove Winner (1957/ML-CF, 1958-1960/NL-CF & 1961-1968/NL-OF)
- NL Batting Average Leader (1954)
- 2-time NL On-Base Percentage Leader (1965 & 1971)
- 5-time NL Slugging Percentage Leader (1954, 1955, 1957, 1964 & 1965)
- 5-time NL OPS Leader (1954, 1955, 1958, 1964 & 1965)
- 2-time NL Runs Scored Leader (1958-1961)
- NL Hits Leader (1960)
- 3-time NL Total Bases Leader (1955, 1962 & 1965)
- 3-time NL Triples Leader (1954, 1955 & 1957)
- 4-time NL Home Runs Leader (1955, 1962, 1964 & 1965)
- NL Bases on Balls Leader (1971)
- 4-time NL Stolen Bases Leader (1956-1959)
- 20-Home Run Seasons: 17 (1951, 1954-1968 & 1970)
- 30-Home Run Seasons: 11 (1954-1957, 1959 & 1961-1966)
- 40-Home Run Seasons: 6 (1954, 1955, 1961, 1962, 1964 & 1965)
- 50-Home Run Seasons: 2 (1955 & 1965)
- 100 RBI Seasons: 10 (1954, 1955 & 1959-1966)
- 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 12 (1954-1965)
- 200 Hits Seasons: 1 (1958)
- Won a World Series with the New York Giants in 1954
- Baseball Hall of Fame: Class of 1979
|Roy Campanella||Willie Mays||Roy Campanella|
|Ken Boyer||Willie Mays||Roberto Clemente|
|NL Rookie of the Year|
|Sam Jethroe||Willie Mays||Joe Black|
 Records Held
- Home runs, center fielder, career, 640
- Home runs, extra innings, career, 22
- Putouts, outfielder, career, 7095
 Further Reading
- Charles Einstein: Willie's Time: Baseball's Golden Age, Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale, IL, 2004 (originally published in 1979). ISBN 080932573X
- Arnold Hano: A Day in the Bleachers, Arion Press, San Francisco, CA, 1955. 
- Donald Honig: Mays, Mantle, and Snider: A Celebration, Macmillan, New York, NY, 1987. ISBN 0025512005
- John Klima: Willie's Boys: the 1948 Birmingham Black Barons, the Last Negro World Series, and the Making of a Baseball Legend , John Wiley & Sons, Hoboken, NJ, 2009. 
- Mary Kay Linge: Willie Mays, Greenwood Press, Westport, CT, 2005. 
- Willie Mays (as told to George Vass): "The Game I'll Never Forget", Baseball Digest, February 1974, pp. 53-55.
- Willie Mays and Charles Einstein: My Life in and Out of Baseball, Dutton, 1966.
- John Rosengren: Hammerin' Hank, George Almighty and the Say Hey Kid: The Year That Changed Baseball Forever, Sourcebooks, Inc., Naperville, IL, 2008. 
- Mike Shannon: Willie Mays: Art in the Outfield, University of Alabama Press, Tuscaloosa, AL, 2007.