Other Free Encyclopedias » Famous Sports Stars » Baseball » Willie Mays Biography - Growing Up, A Way Out, Tough Times In The North, Chronology, The First Full Season - Several Father Figures, CONTACT INFORMATION

Willie Mays - Headed West

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Mays married Marghuerite Wendell, in 1956. They had a baby boy, Michael, just two years later. In 1957 the Giants moved to San Francisco. Mays, however, wasn't on top of the world. He was a New York hero, and he loved it in The Big Apple. The move west would be difficult, and it sent bad blood flowing between Mays and the fans. The people in California didn't revere Mays like the folks did back in NYC. Additionally, he was having trouble at home, and his divorce to Marghuerite would become finalized in 1963.

Mays called it quits in 1973 while playing for the New York Mets. He has been called one of the—if not the—greatest baseball players of all time. Though he came from the South and played baseball during the years when Civil Rights fighting was the toughest, Mays remained silent about his feelings throughout his career. He chose to take an apolitical stance, instead putting everything into baseball. Some critics say he should have given more back to the place he came from, but Mays chose to take his anger out on the little "white" ball that he could control, catching it effortlessly as well as hitting harder than most other players.

Asked years later why he never publicly supported the Civil Rights Movement, according to the Encyclopedia of African-American Cuture and History, he said: "I don't picket in the streets of Birmingham. I'm not mad at the people who do. Maybe they shouldn't be mad at the people who don't.

After his retirement Mays said that, "I've given every bit of energy to baseball." In 1979, along with Mickey Mantle, Mays was ordered to cut ties with baseball for doing PR work for an Atlantic City casino. This was the same year he was voted into the hall of fame, and he would be allowed fully and completely back into baseball in 1985, though not without some ill will towards the Commissioner of Baseball.

Career Statistics

Yr Team AVG GP AB R H HR RBI BB SO SB E
NYG: New York Giants; NYM: New York Mets; SFG: San Francisco Giants.
1951 NYG .274 121 464 59 127 20 68 57 60 7 9
1952 NYG .236 34 127 17 30 4 23 16 17 4 1
1954 NYG .345 151 565 119 195 41 110 66 57 8 7
1955 NYG .319 152 580 123 185 51 127 79 60 24 8
1956 NYG .296 152 578 101 171 36 84 68 65 40 9
1957 NYG .333 152 585 112 195 35 97 76 62 38 9
1958 NYG .347 152 600 121 208 29 96 78 56 31 9
1959 SFG .313 151 575 125 180 34 104 65 58 27 6
1960 SFG .319 153 595 107 190 29 103 61 70 25 8
1961 SFG .308 154 572 129 176 40 123 81 77 18 8
1962 SFG .304 162 621 130 189 49 141 78 85 18 4
1963 SFG .314 157 596 115 187 38 103 66 83 8 8
1964 SFG .296 157 578 121 171 47 111 82 72 19 6
1965 SFG .317 157 558 118 177 52 112 76 71 9 6
1966 SFG .288 152 552 99 159 37 103 70 81 5 7
1967 SFG .263 141 486 83 128 22 70 51 92 6 7
1968 SFG .289 148 498 84 144 23 79 67 81 12 7
1969 SFG .283 117 403 64 114 13 58 49 71 6 5
1970 SFG .291 139 478 94 139 28 83 79 90 5 7
1971 SFG .271 136 417 82 113 18 61 112 123 23 6
1972 SFG .184 19 49 8 9 0 3 17 5 3 0
NYM .267 69 195 27 52 8 19 43 43 1 4
1973 NYM .211 66 209 24 44 6 25 27 47 1 4
TOTAL .302 2992 10881 2062 3283 660 1903 1464 1526 338 156

In his long career, Mays hit more than 600 home runs, tore up the basepaths with his speed, and robbed batters of sure hits with his phenomenal defense in the outfield. Willie Mays was one of the finest baseball players to ever step on the baseball field.

Willie Mays

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