Center Field: Willie Mays
To those that have been away from baseball for oh, say, 70 years, you may not know this individual. But for those of you who are a little in tune with the sport, Mays was the greatest all-around baseball player in the history of the game. And he was ours. Although I was not alive when he played the game, I have watched as many clips, documentaries, and read as many books as I can on the man. While the Hall of Famer started his career in New York, his persona transferred over to the City by the Bay very nicely. The “Say Hey Kid” lost an entire season due to military service (please read that again, not something current players have to worry about) and is still in the top ten in almost every offensive category in baseball. He was a five-tool player who can hit, hit for power, run, field, and throw. Still a member of the Giants family, Mays had 11 Gold Gloves with San Francisco, won an MVP award(after also winning one in New York as well as the Rookie of the Year), and went to 15 All-Star games. For those of you who were able to witness this great on the field, I envy you. Anyone who wants to see the numbers, please just click on his name. There isn’t enough room here to list his achievements and what he meant to the Giants and the game of baseball. He is the subject of many of the classes that I teach when showing how to play the game. He will always be the greatest Giant, no matter who comes after him. The conversation starts and stops with Willie Mays.
Next: Right Field