Willie Howard Mays, Jr. (born May 6, 1931 in Westfield, Alabama) is a former star of Major League Baseball. Mays, nicknamed The Say Hey Kid, played center field throughout nearly all his career and is regarded as one of the finest players ever to have played the game. The epitome of the five-tool player, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility, in 1979.
Mays was a tremendous athlete, and every facet of the game seemed to come naturally to him. He could hit for both average and power, finishing his career with a batting average of .302, 660 home runs and 1902 runs batted in. He is among the few players to have hit more than 50 home runs in each of two or more seasons. He is the player with the longest time elapsed between 50+ homer seasons, hitting 50 or more in both 1955 and 1965. Unlike some of the game's greatest hitters, Mays was also an outstanding defensive player. After their instigation in 1957, he won 12 consecutive Gold Glove awards for his outfield defense and gained a reputation for making catches that no other player could. He was also an excellent baserunner, swiping 339 bags in his career, making him one of the few members of the 300-300 club. He was also the second member of the 30-30 club for stealing 30 bases and hitting 30 home runs in the same season, a feat he accomplished twice. In addition, Mays led an abstemious lifestyle, neither drinking nor smoking, which contributed to his great longevity. In 21 seasons (excluding one lost partially to military service), he played 150 or more games 15 times, and more than 100 an additional five times.
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