Willie Mays had the odds against him when he stepped up to the plate for his turn at bat. The 20-year-old had taken the first 12 at bats of his career without recording a single hit. On May 28, 1951, Mays hit his first of 660 home runs against Warren Spahn of the Boston Braves. That was the only run the Giants were granted that day in the 4-1 loss against the Braves.
It was the center fielder’s first season with the New York Giants baseball team. There were 20 balls hit out of the park by the end of the season that he earned the Rookie of the Year award. Mays played in New York until the end of the 1957 when the Giants moved to San Francisco. He stayed with the team until the 1972 season when he was traded to the New York Mets. Mays stayed there until his retirement in 1973. He made five World Series appearances and came out with two championship rings. Mays was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979.
Sandy Koufax said this about Mays, “I can’t believe that Babe Ruth was a better player than Willy Mays. Ruth is to baseball what Arnold Palmer is to golf. He got the game moving. But I can’t believe he could run as well as Mays, and I can’t believe he was any better an outfielder.”