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60 years ago today: Willie Mays debuts for New York Giants

May 25, 2011, 8:14 PM EDT

Willie Mays AP

May 25, 1951

Less than three weeks after his 20th birthday, Willie Mays makes his major league debut for the Giants, going 0-for-5 in New York’s 8-5 win over the Phillies.

Mays was called up after hitting an incredible .477/.524/.799 with eight homers and 30 RBI in 35 games for Minneapolis of the American Association.

The success didn’t immediately carry over, though.  Mays went hitless in each game of the series in Philadelphia, opening his career 0-for-12.  He homered off Warren Spahn in his fourth game, which was also his debut at the Polo Grounds.  However, that was his only hit through seven games and he was hitting .038 (1-for-26) as of June 2.

Mays got a whole lot better from there, of course.   He went on to win NL Rookie of the Year honors afer hitting .274/.356/.472 with 20 homers and 68 RBI in 121 games.

  1. nixonotis - May 25, 2011 at 8:20 PM

    I haven’t heard much about this Mays fella, have anymore good seasons after winning ROY?

    • natstowngreg - May 25, 2011 at 8:43 PM

      Oh, about 20. No Joe Charbonneau, but not a bust by any means.

      I was 8 days old when Mays made his debut. Harry Truman was President, the Korean War was raging, and there were 16 major league teams, none west of St. Louis or south of Washington.

      • Old Gator - May 26, 2011 at 11:04 AM

        I was ten months old when Mays made his debut. Harry Truman was President, the Korean War was raging, and there were 16 major league teams, none west of St. Louis or South of Washington.

        Isn’t it amazing how little can happen in nine months and three weeks?

    • victorpf - May 26, 2011 at 12:22 PM

      Man… were your born yesterday?? I suppose you think Babe Ruth is a candybar !!

  2. leftywildcat - May 30, 2011 at 7:52 PM

    Just imagine where Willie would be on the career home run list if he hadn’t divided his career between the Polo Grounds with an extremely deep center field, and Candlestick Park, where the wind was always blowing in. Just a most fantastic player at the plate, on the bases, or in center field.

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