Willie Mays

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Willie Mays, born May 31, 1931 in Westfield, Alabama, is a retired American baseball player of the mid-20th century who played primarily for the Giants, first in New York and then in San Francisco. He is universally considered to be one of the very greatest players of all time and numerous authorities have called him the best all-round player in the 150-year-old history of the game. Renowned, like his exact contemporary Mickey Mantle, for an almost unique combination of speed and power, he played mostly in center field for the full 22 years of his career with an occasional game at first base for the final seven or eight. Barely 20 years old when he made his debut, Mays made an immediate impact with his superior hitting and superlative fielding. Like Mantle and very few others in baseball history, he could hit for both high average (.347 in 1958) and great power (52 home runs in 1965) and also run like the wind (he led the league in stolen bases four consecutive times in the late 1950s). Clearly a superior fielder to his great rival, Mantle, he also enjoyed a somewhat longer career and established better career statistics but fell somewhat from the national spotlight when his team moved from New York to San Francisco for the beginning of the 1958 season. At the time of his retirement, he was second only to the legendary Babe Ruth in the number of career home runs.

See also