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Video:Profile of Willie Mays

with Megan Murphy

Willie Mays is commonly regarded as one of the greatest baseball players of all time. This video from About.com will give you a look at his career and accomplishments.See Transcript

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Transcript:Profile of Willie Mays

Hi, I'm Megan Murphy for About.com. Today we're profiling the career of one of Major League Baseball's all-time greats, the "Say Hey Kid."

From the Negro League to the Majors

Willie Howard Mays was born May 6, 1931, in Westfield, Alabama. He grew up under the care of a single mom, as his parents never married. He went on to star in several sports in high school, before launching his professional baseball career. Before making it to the Major Leagues, he played for the Birmingham Black Barons of the Negro American League in 1947. He was scouted and signed by the New York Giants, who outbid the Boston Braves and Brooklyn Dodgers for his services.

Mays' First of Many

Willie Mays was an immediate hit in the minors, batting .477 in 35 games for the Minneapolis Millers during the 1951 season. He was called up to play for the New York Giants on May 24, 1951. It took 13 at-bats for Mays to get his first hit, but it was a memorable one: a home run off of future Hall of Famer Warren Spahn.

Rookie of the Year

Mays hit 20 homers and drove in 61 runs, while hitting .274 in his rookie campaign, good enough to secure the 1951 NL Rookie of the Year honors. He also helped lead the Giants to the World Series against the Yankees that year, a contest the Giants lost.

The Catch

Willie Mays' catch of a Vic Wertz's long drive in the 1954 World Series is one of the enduring moments in baseball, and has been the subject of pictures and artwork, simply entitled "The Catch."

Willie Mays' Career Numbers

In 1957, Mays became one of only four Major Leaguers in history to join the 20-20-20 club: 20 doubles, triples and homers in one season.

In addition to that Mays was a:

  • 24-time All-Star
  • 12-time Gold Glove Winner
  • 2-time National League MVP
  • 2-Time All-Star Game MVP
  • 1951 NL Rookie of the Year
  • 1954 World Series Champion

Mays' Legacy

He was inducted into the Major League Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979, entering on the first ballot and receiving nearly 95% of the vote.

And that's a brief look at the career of Hall of Famer Willie Mays. For more information, check out About.com.

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