Willie Mays : biography
Willie Howard Mays, Jr. (born May 6, 1931) is a retired American professional baseball player who spent the majority of his major league career with the New York and San Francisco Giants before finishing with the New York Mets. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979 in his first year of eligibility. Mays was nicknamed The Say Hey Kid.
Mays won two MVP awards and tied Stan Musial’s record with 24 appearances in the All-Star Game. Mays ended his career with 660 home runs, third at the time of his retirement, and currently fourth all-time. He was a center fielder and won a record-tying 12 Gold Gloves starting the year the award was introduced six seasons into his career.http://mlb.mlb.com/mlb/awards/mlb_awards_content.jsp?content=gold_gloves_history
Willie Mays’ unquestionable career statistics and longevity in the pre-PED era, the more recent acknowledgement of Mays as perhaps the finest five-tool player ever, and the overwhelming consensus of many surveys and other expert analyses carefully examining Mays’ relative performance, have led to a growing opinion that Mays was possibly the greatest all-around baseball player of all-time.http://espn.go.com/blog/sweetspot/post/_/id/10260/ten-reasons-willie-mays-is-greatest-everhttp://bleacherreport.com/articles/197503-willie-mays-the-greatest-ballplayer-of-all-time In 1999, Mays placed second on The Sporting Newss "List of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players", making him the highest-ranking living player. Later that year, he was also elected to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. Mays is one of five National League players to have had eight consecutive 100-RBI seasons, along with Mel Ott, Sammy Sosa, Chipper Jones and Albert Pujols. Mays hit over 50 home runs in 1955 and 1965, representing the longest time span between 50-plus home run seasons for any player in Major League Baseball history.
Ted Williams said, "They invented the All-Star Game for Willie Mays."Willie’s Time, by Charles Einstein.
"Say Hey Kid" and other nicknames
Willie Mays tribute display at AT&T Park in San Francisco, California
It is not clear how Mays became known as the "Say Hey Kid." One story is that in 1951, Barney Kremenko, a writer for the New York Journal, proceeded to refer to Mays as the ‘Say Hey Kid’ after he overheard Mays say, "’Say who,’ ‘Say what,’ ‘Say where,’ ‘Say hey,’". Another story is that Jimmy Cannon created the nickname because Mays didn’t know everybody’s names when he first arrived in the minors. "You see a guy, you say, ‘Hey, man. Say hey, man,’ " Mays said. "Ted [Williams] was the ‘Splinter’. Joe [DiMaggio] was ‘Joltin’ Joe’. Stan [Musial] was ‘The Man’. I guess I hit a few home runs, and they said ‘There goes the ‘Say Hey Kid."
Years before he became the "Say Hey Kid", when he began his professional career with the Black Barons, Mays was called "Buck" by teammates and fans. Some Giants players referred to him, their team captain, as "Cap."
New York Giants (1951–57)
Mays began his major league career with no hits in his first 12 at bats. On his 13th at bat, he hit a homer over the left field fence of the Polo Grounds off future Hall of Famer Warren Spahn. Spahn later joked, "I’ll never forgive myself. We might have gotten rid of Willie forever if I’d only struck him out." Mays’ average improved steadily throughout the rest of the season. Although his .274 average, 68 RBI and 20 homers (in 121 games) were among the lowest of his career, he still won the 1951 Rookie of the Year Award. During the Giants’ comeback in August and September 1951 to overtake the Dodgers in the 1951 pennant race, Mays’ fielding, and strong arm were often instrumental to several important Giants victories.Willie Mays, by Matt von Albade, Tempo Books, Grosset & Dunlop, Inc. NY. copyright 1966, pp. 60–75 first printing, August 1966, Library of Congress Number 66-17205 Mays ended the regular season in the on-deck circle when Bobby Thomson hit the Shot Heard ‘Round the World against the Brooklyn Dodgers to win the three-game playoff 2-1 after the teams had tied at the end of the regular season.