Nicknamed "The Say Hey Kid", Willie Howard Mays was born in Westfield, Alabama
on May 6, 1931. Mays played for the Birmingham Black Barons in the Negro Leagues
while in high school, then signed with the then-New York Giants
the day after graduating. His first major league hit was a monster home run
over the left field roof at the Polo Grounds
Mays quickly established himself as one of the best all-around players in baseball. His defensive skills alone won him an outfielder's Gold Glove for the first 11 years of the award's existence. He made spectacular play after spectacular play, including his famous over-the-shoulder basket catch in Game 1 of the 1954 World Series against the Cleveland Indians.
But Mays' offensive skills were an even match - the right-hander had over 3,000 hits, blasted 660 home runs, and collected 338 stolen bases. Mays played nearly his entire career with the Giants before finishing up with the New York Mets in 1972 and 1973.
Over his career, Mays played in a record 24 All-Star Games, won two MVP awards, was the Rookie Of The Year in 1951, and played in four World Series. He has considerable support for being the greatest ever to play the game. He was elected to the Hall Of Fame in 1979 with almost 95% of the vote.
Willie Mays - Career Stats
G AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB BB K .AVG .OBP .SLG
2992 10881 2062 3283 523 140 660 1903 338 1463 1526 .302 .384 .557