“I think I was programmed to do good things when I came into the majors. I knew how to play”- Willie Mays
Willie as well as anybody who played against him won’t hesitate to agree with that quote. Mays could do it all he was the 1st five-tool player and he was the best five tool player in baseball history. He did it all he could hit,steal,field, hit for power if he wanted to do your taxes or win an academy award he probably could have done that too. The “Say hey Kid” was the truth and his accomplishments are rather staggering
Baseball is a crazy game, it represents life as a game of daily struggles. It’s also crazy because there are so many great players over the course of time that it is hard to choose 1 player to identify as the Greatest of All-Time. You have guys like (Babe Ruth,Albert Pujols, CY Young, Ken Griffey JR, ETC). No disrespect to anybody that has played in the Major Leagues but Willie Mays is the greatest of All-Time. In many Ways he is to baseball what Michael Jordan was to basketball but before we had so many Media outlets. Willie was like Jordan because baseball hadn’t really seen anything like him in terms of all around talent. Being a 5 tool player coupled with his personality, Borderline cocky attitude and Flair for the dramatic while playing the game made him a pioneer. Babe Ruth hit home runs, Ricky Henderson stole bases, Torii Hunter plays Gold glove defense….Willie Mays did all of those things.
“I think I was the best baseball player I ever saw”- Willie Mays on himself
There is a lot of truth behind that statement never at that time in baseball history had we seen somebody lead the league in so many different categories. In the years between 1954-1964 Willie Mays led in the following categories (Batting average, on base %,Hits, Homeruns, runs Scored, total bases, triples, Runs created, extra base hits, Slugging % and walks) at least once. There isn’t any player that impacted that many facets of the game at that high a level ever in baseball history. If you currently watch baseball and cheer for a team think about your franchise player leading in that many categories. Take for example I’m a Marlins fan and I could never see Giancarlo Stanton leading the League in hits, Homeruns, Runs scored, batting average all in the same year, as a ballplayer you got to sacrifice one of those to dominate in a particular area. Willy never won a triple crown but if you look how many times he led the league in a lot of categories you would be surprised that he didn’t at some point in his career. He was the 1st player in Major league history to hit 300 Homeruns and steal 300 bases in a career.
Willie’s whole career is remembered by most for image. Just Like Michael Jordan free throw line dunk in the 1985 dunk contest or “The Drive” by John Elway for Mays there is the catch. The catch was an over the shoulder basket like grab that was a robbery of A Vic Wertz line drive that ultimately held the game at a tie and allowed the New York Giants to take game one of the 1954 World Series.
He played the game with style, Grace, Bravado and did it all respectfully he was a Kid ball player with a full grown major league swing. Willy was, is and will always be the greatest he said what he meant and meant what he said. He is the measuring stick of what 5 tool player should aspire to be. His swing was sweet, His speed unlimited but the mans career was once in a lifetime
- · 24x All-Star
- · 2xMVP
- · 12 Gold Gloves
- · 1951 Rookie of the Year
- · 1954 Batting Title
- · 660 Homeruns (4th All-Time)
- · 1954 World Series Champion
- · 3,283 Hits
- · 2,092 Runs scored