William Howard Mays, Jr.

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  • Negro American League

    Negro American League
    In 1947, at the age of 16 Willie Mays had entered the Negro Leagues, and was playing for The Birmingham Black Barons, and making $250 a month. His father still wanted him to finish high school, so he was restricted to only playing in home games. He played briefly with the Chattanooga Choo-Choos in Tennessee during the summer, after school was over. Shortly after, Mays left the Choo-Choos, returned to his home state, and joined the Birmingham Black Barons of the Negro American League.
  • New York Giants

    New York Giants
    In 1949, with the Black Barons, his batting average of .311, and .330 the following year, had impressed major league scouts, which led to his $15,000 a year contract with the Giants, soon after he graduated high school. He was only at the age of 20, when he received the call to sign with the Giants.
  • Rookie of the Year

    After two seasons in the minor leagues, Mays went to the Giants in 1951 and was named Rookie of the Year at the end of that season.
  • World Series and MVP Award

    World Series and MVP Award
    Willie Mays had been drafted by the United States Army in 1952, missing most of that season and all of the 1953 season. He didn't engage in combat throughout the Korean War, all he really did was hone his baseball skills playing at Fort Eustis in Newport News, Virginia. but he returned to lead the Giants to a World Series in 1954, winning 4 straight games over the Cleveland Indians. He also received the MVP award that year.
  • 30-30 Club

    In his 1956 season, Willie Mays hit 36 homers and stole 40 bases, making him only the second player and first National League player to join the 30-30 club. The 30–30 club is a grouping of Major League Baseball players who have reached the 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases in the same season.
  • Second MVP Award

    Willie Mays had won his second MVP award in 1965, which was the season he had a career high of 52 home runs.
  • Most Paid Player

    In 1966, the San Francisco Giants had re-newed his contract, making Willie Mays the highest paid player of that time period.
  • Hall of Fame

    Willie Mays was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1979, the first year he was eligibile for it. He accumulated 409 of the 432 ballots cast, which is roughly 95 percent of the vote.
  • Joins San Francisco Giants Organization

    Joins San Francisco Giants Organization
    In 1986, Willie Mays returned to the San Francisco Giants organization, where he would serve as special assistant to the president of the club. In 1993 the Giants made this a lifetime appointment. This will make his position in sports history, the longest ever.
  • One of the Best

    One of the Best
    In 1999, Willie The Sporting New's List of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, named Mays placed second beston, which made him the highest-ranking living player. Later that year, he was also elected to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.
  • Willie Mays Day

    Willie Mays Day was announced by former mayor Willie Brown and reaffirmed by mayor Gavin Newsom to be every May 24 in San Francisco, paying tribute not only to his birth in the month (May 6), but also to his name (Mays) and jersey number (24). The date is also the anniversary of his call-up to the major leagues
  • Beacon of Life Award

    On May 15, 2010, Mays was awarded the MLB Beacon of Life Award at the Civil Rights game at Great American Ballpark.
    The band Widespread Panic makes reference to Mays in the song One Arm Steve, from their album 'Til the Medicine Takes.