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Thanks to the successful pioneering efforts of Jackie Robinson, Willie Mays was one of the first African-American “kids” to be brought up to the Majors. At age twenty, he could do it all!
Mays was drafted by the Army in 1952, and the New York Giants sorely missed him as they took a nose-dive towards the cellar. In 1953, they finished fifth in their division and the prospects for 1954 looked no better. However, with their young all-star back in the lineup there was a dramatic turnaround. The “Say Hey Kid” batted .345 with 41 homers, stole bases at will and caught every fly ball which was even remotely in the vicinity of centerfield. The Giants has an MVP, and they won the National League championship. However, few “experts” gave them much chance in the World Series against a very good Cleveland Indians team.
It was in this 1954 World Series that Willie Mays made the greatest defensive play in baseball history. During the first game of the Series, Vic Wertz of the Indians hit a booming fly ball to the “deepest caverns” of the Polo Grounds. With the crack of the bat, Mays tore full speed toward the centerfield fence. His back to the infield and with barely a glance, he hauled in the ball over his left shoulder some 460 feet from home plate. The devastated Cleveland team couldn’t believe it. They “folded their tents” and promptly lost the Series in four games.
From that time on, everyone loved to watch Willie Mays play centerfield. Making even routine fly balls fun to watch, he used his famous “basket catch” in which his glove was held minimally extended from his waist.
In 1961, Willie Mays hit four homeruns in one game! During his twenty-two years in the Majors, he slugged 660 homers (3rd all-time), 1323 extra base hits (4th all-time) and scored 2,062 runs (fifth all-time). He is also ranked in the top ten for career hits (3285 – 9th), games played (2,992 – 6th), at bats (10,881 – 8th), total bases (6,066 – 3rd), RBIs (1903 – 7th) and slugging average (.557 – 10th). Combining blinding speed with his excellent hitting, he stole 338 bases.
A two time MVP (1954, 1965), Willie Mays led the National League in homeruns and stolen bases four times each. He played in the All-Star game every year he was in the Majors. A near unanimous selection, he was the only player inducted into the Professional Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979.
Large - 28" x 36"
50 Artist Proof Limited Edition Available - $243
500 Limited Edition Available - $195
Medium - 21" x 27"
50 Artist Proof Limited Edition Available - $185
500 Limited Edition Available - $149
Small - 14" x 18"
50 Artist Proof Limited Edition Available - $149
500 Limited Edition Available - $119
Large - 28" x 36" (Expanded 34" x 42")
15 Artist Proof Limited Edition Available - $499
150 Limited Edition Available - $399
Medium - 21" x 27" (Expanded 27" x 33")
25 Artist Proof Limited Edition Available - $389
250 Limited Edition Available - $310
Small - 14" x 18" (Expanded 20" x 24")
25 Artist Proof Limited Edition Available - $249
250 Limited Edition Available - $199