Tagged with "baseball"
Meet the first woman to play professional baseball in an all men's leagues - Toni Stone Tags: toni tomboy stone first woman professional baseball men leagues word life production new quality

Toni "Tomboy" Stone made history in 1953 when she joined the Negro Leagues, making her the first woman ever to play professionally in a men's league.

Female baseball player Toni Stone made history in 1953 when she was signed by the Indianapolis Clowns of the Negro Leagues, making her the first woman ever to play professionally in a men's league. Stone began playing ball when she was only 10 years old. Over the years, many people tried to dissuaded her from the game, including her husband. After baseball, she worked as a nurse. She died in 1996.

Early Life

Born Marcenia Lyle Stone on July 17, 1921, in St. Paul, Minnesota, Toni "Tomboy" Stone made history in 1953 when she was signed to play second base for the Indianapolis Clowns of the Negro Leagues, making her the first woman to play professionally in a men's league.

Stone's parents believed strongly that their four children needed to get a good education. But their athletically inclined daughter didn't share the same talent in the classroom as her siblings. Instead, she loved to compete, and excelled in all kinds of sports including ice skating, track, and the high jump. Baseball, however, was her true love and she spent her off-hours at a local park, soaking up the culture and devoting hours toward improving her own game.

Her parents didn't approve. Around the time she was 10 years old, Stone was forced to sit down with a local priest, whom her parents had invited over in hopes that he could talk their daughter out of her interest in baseball. Instead, toward the end of the sit-down, Father Keith asked Stone to play on his team in the Catholic Midget League.

At age 15, Stone was quietly earning a reputation as something of a phenom. She played with the Twin City Colored Giants, a traveling men's baseball club, and took to the diamond for clubs competing in the men's meatpacking league.

Playing for the San Francisco Sea Lions

In the 1940s, Stone moved to San Francisco to help a sick sister. It was there that her life began to finally change in the way she'd long hoped. But it was a humble start. She would later claim that she had only 50 cents in her pocket upon her arrival, and after staying in the bus station for several nights, she started to scrape together a living by working at a cafeteria and at a shipyard as a forklift operator.

Stone also began what can only be considered a personal reinvention. She changed her name to Toni Stone and dropped 10 years off her age to increase her appeal to a men's team.

It wasn't long before she was playing baseball again, signing on to play with an American Legion club. In 1949, she joined the San Francisco Sea Lions of the West Coast Negro Baseball League. The pay wasn't terrible (about $200 a month) and it enhanced Stone's exposure to high profile managers and team owners.

But it wasn't always an easy life. As a woman, Stone was subject to a barrage of insults from fans and sometimes even teammates who objected to seeing a female compete in a "men's" game. The complicated rules surrounding Jim Crow America only amplified the pressure, as she and other black players had to be careful not to patron white-only restaurants and other establishments.

The Indianapolis Clowns and Kansas City Monarchs

Still, Stone's talent was hard to miss. In 1953, she caught her big break when the Indianapolis Clowns signed her to its roster. The club, which had at one time developed a reputation as a showy kind of team, not unlike what basketball's Harlem Globetrotters would become, was in need of a boost.

Since Jackie Robinson's first appearance in the Majors in 1947, the Negro Leagues had seen attendance and talent drop considerably. The departures included the Clowns' prized second baseman, Hank Aaron. In the wake of all this upheaval, team owner Syd Pollack figured Stone might draw some fans.

Stone, however, played hard and didn't back down from any challenges that came her way. Backed by some pretty good Clowns PR to showcase their new female player, Stone appeared in 50 games that year, hitting a respectable .243—a stretch that included getting a hit off the legendary pitcher, Satchel Paige. She also got the chance to play with some excellent young talent, including Willie Mays and Ernie Banks.

But for Stone, she was a part of the roster and she wasn't. The fact that she was a woman meant that she wasn't allowed in the men's locker rooms. Her opponents showed little deference, either, sometimes coming hard at her on a slide with their spikes pointed up.

Stone's time with the Clowns was short. In the off-season, she was traded to the Kansas City Monarchs. It proved to be a difficult adjustment for her. Age had finally caught up to the fleet-footed Stone, and her new teammates and bosses resented her. At the end of the year, she retired.

Final Years

Toni Stone, who married Aurelious Alberga in 1950, a well-known San Francisco political player who was some 40 years her senior, spent her retirement life in Oakland. Eventually she earned the respect she'd long deserved from the baseball world. In 1993 she was inducted into the Women's Sports Hall of Fame in Long Island, New York.

Toni Stone died of heart and respiratory problems on November 2, 1996, at the age of 75, at an Alameda, California, nursing home.

Source: Biorgraphy.com

Civil Rights Activist, Baseball Player - Hank Aaron
Category: Black Men Rock!
Tags: Hank aaron activist baseball player major leauge word life production new quality entertainment feature

Considered one of the best baseball players of all time, Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth's home-run record when he hit his 715th home run in 1974. He later set a new MLB record with 755 career home runs.

Born into humble circumstances on February 5, 1934, in Mobile, Alabama, Hank Aaron ascended the ranks of the Negro Leagues to become a Major League Baseball icon. Aaron played as an outfielder for the Atlanta Braves for nearly 23 years, during which time he broke many of baseball's most distinguished records, including most career home runs (755)—a record that stood for more than two decades.

American baseball icon Hank Aaron, nicknamed "Hammerin' Hank," is widely regarded as one of the greatest hitters in the history of the sport. For nearly 23 years (1954–76), Aaron played as an outfielder for the Braves and the Milwaukee Brewers, setting several records and winning a number of honors along the way.

Aaron continues to hold many of baseball's most distinguished records today, including runs batted in (2,297), extra base hits (1,477), total bases (6,856) and most years with 30 or more home runs (15). He is also ranked one of baseball's Top 5 players for career hits and runs. For more than two decades, Aaron held the record for most career home runs (755), surpassing Babe Ruth's home-run record on April 8, 1974. Barry Bonds broke the record on August 7, 2007, when he scored his 756th home run in San Francisco, California.

Born Henry Louis Aaron on February 5, 1934, in a poor black section of Mobile, Alabama, called "Down The Bay," Hank Aaron was the third of eight children born to Estella and Herbert Aaron, who made a living as a tavern owner and a dry dock boilermaker's assistant.

Aaron and his family moved to the middle-class Toulminville neighborhood when he was 8 years old. Aaron developed a strong affinity for baseball and football at a young age, and tended to focus more heavily on sports than his studies. During his freshman and sophomore years, he attended Central High School, a segregated high school in Mobile, where he excelled at both football and baseball. On the baseball diamond, he played shortstop and third base.

In his junior year, Aaron transferred to the Josephine Allen Institute, a neighboring private school that had an organized baseball program. Before the end of his first year at Allen, he had more than proved his abilities on the baseball field. Then, perhaps sensing that he had a bigger future ahead of him, in 1951, the 18-year-old Aaron quit school to play for the Negro Baseball League's Indianapolis Clowns.

It wasn't a long stay. After leading his club to victory in the league's 1952 World Series, in June 1952, Aaron was recruited by the Milwaukee Braves (formerly of Boston and later of Atlanta) for $10,000. The Braves assigned their new player to one of their farm clubs, The Eau Claire Bears. Again, Aaron did not disappoint, earning the esteemed title of "Northern League Rookie of the Year."

Hank Aaron made his Major League debut in 1954, at age 20, when a spring training injury to a Braves outfielder created a roster spot for him. Following a respectable first year (he hit .280), Aaron charged through the 1955 season with a blend of power (27 home runs), run production (106 runs batted in), and average (.328) that would come to define his long career. In 1956, after winning the first of two batting titles, Aaron registered an unrivaled 1957 season, taking home the National League MVP and nearly nabbing the Triple Crown by hitting 44 home runs, knocking in another 132, and batting .322.

Star Player

That same year, Aaron demonstrated his ability to come up big when it counted most. His 11th inning home run in late September propelled the Braves to the World Series, where he led underdog Milwaukee to an upset win over the New York Yankees in seven games.

With the game still years away from the multimillion-dollar contracts that would later dominate player salaries, Aaron's annual pay in 1959 was around $30,000. When he equaled that amount that same year in endorsements, Aaron realized there may be more in store for him if he continued to hit for power. "I noticed that they never had a show called 'Singles Derby,'" he once explained.

He was right, of course, and over the next decade and a half, the always-fit Aaron banged out a steady stream of 30 and 40 home run seasons. In 1973, at the age of 39, Aaron was still a force, clubbing a remarkable 40 home runs to finish just one run behind Babe Ruth's all-time career mark of 714.

Obstacles

But the chase to beat the Babe's record revealed that world of baseball was far from being free of the racial tensions that prevailed around it. Letters poured into the Braves offices, as many as 3,000 a day for Aaron. Some wrote to congratulate him, but many others were appalled that a black man should break baseball's most sacred record. Death threats were a part of the mix.

Still, Aaron pushed forward. He didn't try to inflame the atmosphere, but he didn't keep his mouth shut either, speaking out against the league's lack of ownership and management opportunities for minorities. "On the field, blacks have been able to be super giants," he once stated. "But, once our playing days are over, this is the end of it and we go back to the back of the bus again."

Legacy

In 1974, after tying the Babe on Opening Day in Cincinnati, Ohio, Aaron came home with his team. On April 8, he banged out his record 715th home run at 9:07 p.m. in the fourth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers. It was a triumph and a relief. The more than 50,000 fans on hand cheered him on as he rounded the bases. There were fireworks and a band, and when he crossed home plate, Aaron's parents were there to greet him.

Overall, Aaron finished the 1974 season with 20 home runs. He played two more years, moving back to Milwaukee to finish out his career to play in the same city where he'd started.

After retiring as a player, Aaron moved into the Atlanta Braves front office as executive vice-president, where he has been a leading spokesman for minority hiring in baseball. He was elected to baseball's Hall of Fame in 1982. His autobiography, I Had a Hammer, was published in 1990.

In 1999, to celebrate the 25th anniversary of breaking Ruth's record, Major League Baseball announced the Hank Aaron Award, given annually to the best overall hitter in each league.

Hank Aaron was honored with the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2002

Source: Biography.com

 

First African American Baseball Player - Jackie Robinson Tags: african america baseball player jackie robinson word life production new quality entertainment featured blog

Jack Roosevelt Robinson was born in Cairo, Georgia in 1919 to a family of sharecroppers. His mother, Mallie Robinson, single-handedly raised Jackie and her four other children. They were the only black family on their block, and the prejudice they encountered only strengthened their bond. From this humble beginning would grow the first baseball player to break Major League Baseball's color barrier that segregated the sport for more than 50 years.

Jackie at UCLAGrowing up in a large, single-parent family, Jackie excelled early at all sports and learned to make his own way in life. At UCLA, Jackie became the first athlete to win varsity letters in four sports: baseball, basketball, football and track. In 1941, he was named to the All-American football team. Due to financial difficulties, he was forced to leave college, and eventually decided to enlist in the U.S. Army. After two years in the army, he had progressed to second lieutenant. Jackie's army career was cut short when he was court-martialed in relation to his objections with incidents of racial discrimination. In the end, Jackie left the Army with an honorable discharge.

In 1945, Jackie played one season in the Negro Baseball League, traveling all over the Midwest with the Kansas City Monarchs. But greater challenges and achievements were in store for him. In 1947, Brooklyn Dodgers president Branch Rickey approached Jackie about joining the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Major Leagues had not had an African-American player since 1889, when baseball became segregated. When Jackie first donned a Brooklyn Dodger uniform, he pioneered the integration of professional athletics in America. By breaking the color barrier in baseball, the nation's preeminent sport, he courageously challenged the deeply rooted custom of racial segregation in both the North and the South.

Jackie sliding into home plateAt the end of Robinson's rookie season with the Brooklyn Dodgers, he had become National League Rookie of the Year with 12 homers, a league-leading 29 steals, and a .297 average. In 1949, he was selected as the NL's Most Valuable player of the Year and also won the batting title with a .342 average that same year. As a result of his great success, Jackie was eventually inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1962.

 

Jackie married Rachel Isum, a nursing student he met at UCLA, in 1946. As an African-American baseball player, Jackie was on display for the whole country to judge. Rachel and their three children, Jackie Jr., Sharon and David, provided Jackie with the emotional support and sense of purpose essential for bearing the pressure during the early years of baseball.

Jackie Robinson stampJackie Robinson's life and legacy will be remembered as one of the most important in American history. In 1997, the world celebrated the 50th Anniversary of Jackie's breaking Major League Baseball's color barrier. In doing so, we honored the man who stood defiantly against those who would work against racial equality and acknowledged the profound influence of one man's life on the American culture. On the date of Robinson's historic debut, all Major League teams across the nation celebrated this milestone. Also that year, The United States Post Office honored Robinson by making him the subject of a commemorative postage stamp. On Tuesday, April 15 President Bill Clinton paid tribute to Jackie at Shea Stadium in New York in a special ceremony.

We will always remember Babe Ruth Tags: babe ruth baseball legend first black player word life production sports entertainment featured blog

George Herman Ruth Jr. was born on February 6, 1895 in Baltimore, Maryland to parents George Sr. and Kate. George Jr. was one of eight children, although only he and his sister Mamie survived. George Jr.’s parents worked long hours, leaving little time to watch over him and his sister. The lack of parental guidance allowed George Jr. to become a bit unruly, often skipping school and causing trouble in the neighborhood. When George Jr. turned 7 years old, his parents realized he needed a stricter environment and therefore sent him to the St. Mary’s Industrial School for Boys, a school run by Catholic monks from an order of the Xaverian Brothers. St. Mary’s provided a strict and regimented environment that helped shape George Jr.’s future. Not only did George Jr. learn vocational skills, but he developed a passion and love for the game of baseball.

Brother Matthias, one of the monks at St. Mary’s, took an instant liking to George Jr. and became a positive role model and father-like figure to George Jr. while at St. Mary’s. Brother Matthias also happened to help George Jr. refine his baseball skills, working tirelessly with him on hitting, fielding and pitching skills. George Jr. became so good at baseball that the Brothers invited Jack Dunn, owner of the Baltimore Orioles, to come watch George Jr. play. Dunn was obviously impressed, as he offered a contract to George Jr. in February 1914 after watching him for less than an hour. Since George Jr. was only 19 at the time, Dunn had to become George’s legal guardian in order to complete the contract. Upon seeing George Jr. for the first time, the Orioles players referred to him as “Jack’s newest babe”, and thus the most famous nickname in American sports history was born. Thereafter, George Herman Ruth Jr. was known as the Babe.

The Babe performed well for Dunn and the Orioles, leading to the sale of Babe to the Boston Red Sox by Dunn. While Babe is most known for his prodigious power as a slugger, he started his career as a pitcher, and a very good one at that. In 1914, Babe appeared in five games for the Red Sox, pitching in four of them. He won his major league debut on July 11, 1914. However, due to a loaded roster, Babe was optioned to the Red Sox minor league team, the Providence Grays, where he helped lead them to the International League pennant. Babe became a permanent fixture in the Red Sox rotation in 1915, accumulating an 18-8 record with an ERA of 2.44. He followed up his successful first season with a 23-12 campaign in 1916, leading the league with a 1.75 ERA. In 1917, he went 24-13 with a 2.01 ERA and a staggering 35 complete games in 38 starts. However, by that time, Babe had displayed enormous power in his limited plate appearances, so it was decided his bat was too good to be left out of the lineup on a daily basis. As a result, in 1918, the transition began to turn Babe into an everyday player. That year, he tied for the major-league lead in homeruns with 11, and followed that up by setting a single season home run record of 29 dingers in 1919. Little did he know that the 1919 season would be his last with Boston. On December 26, 1919, Babe was sold to the New York Yankees and the two teams would never be the same again.

After becoming a New York Yankee, Babe’s transition to a full-time outfielder became complete. Babe dominated the game, amassing numbers that had never been seen before. He changed baseball from a grind it out style to one of power and high scoring games. He re-wrote the record books from a hitting standpoint, combining a high batting average with unbelievable power. The result was an assault on baseball’s most hallowed records. In 1920, he bested the homerun record he set in 1919 by belting a staggering 54 homeruns, a season in which no other player hit more than 19 and only one team hit more than Babe did individually. But Babe wasn’t done, as his 1921 season may have been the greatest in MLB history. That season, he blasted a new record of 59 homeruns, drove in 171 RBI, scored 177 runs, batted .376 and had an unheard of .846 slugging percentage. Babe was officially a superstar and enjoyed a popularity never seen before in professional baseball. With Babe leading the way, the Yankees became the most recognizable and dominant team in baseball, setting attendance records along the way. When the Yankees moved to a new stadium in 1923, it was appropriately dubbed “The House that Ruth Built”.

Babe’s mythical stature grew even more in 1927 when, as a member of “Murderer’s Row”, he set a new homerun record of 60, a record that would stand for 34 years. During his time with the Yankees, Babe ignited the greatest dynasty in all of American sport. Prior to his arrival, the Yankees had never won a title of any kind. After joining the Yankees prior to the 1920 season, Babe helped the Yankees capture seven pennants and four World Series titles. The 1927 team is still considered by many to be the greatest in baseball history. Upon retiring from the Boston Braves in 1935, Babe held an astonishing 56 major league records at the time, including the most revered record in baseball... 714 homeruns.

In 1936, the Baseball Hall of Fame was inaugurated and Babe was elected as one of its first five inductees. During the fall of 1946, it was discovered that Babe had a malignant tumor on his neck, and his health began to deteriorate quickly. On June 13, 1948, his jersey number “3” was retired by the Yankees during his last appearance at Yankee Stadium. Babe lost his battle with cancer on August 16, 1948. His body lay in repose in Yankee Stadium, with his funeral two days later at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York. In all, over 100,000 people lined up and paid their respects to the Babe.

Despite passing over 60 years ago, Babe still remains the greatest figure in major league baseball, and one of the true icons in American history. The Babe helped save baseball from the ugly Black Sox scandal, and gave hope to millions during The Great Depression. He impacted the game in a way never seen before, or since. He continues to be the benchmark by which all other players are measured. Despite last playing nearly 75 years ago, Babe is still widely considered the greatest player in Major League Baseball history.

©/™ 2011 Family of Babe Ruth and Babe Ruth League c/o Luminary Group LLC

Source: Official Website

Baseball Hall of Famer - Willie Mays Tags: baseball hall fame willie mays word life production new quality entertainment featured blog

Willie Mays is a retired major league baseball player who began his career with the New York Giants and moved with the franchise to San Francisco before returning to New York to end his career with the Mets. Mays was a two-time NL MVP and is one of just six players in baseball history to hit at least 600 home runs during his career.

He played in 24 All-Star games, compiling 660 career home runs (third all-time when he retired) and is a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, having been elected on his first ballot with 94.7 percent of the vote in 1979. Mays was known as the "Say Hey Kid" though the exact origins of the nickname are not clear.

Early Years

William Howard "Willie" Mays Jr. was born May 6, 1931, in Westfield, Ala., just outside of Birmingham. Mays's parents, Ann and Willie Sr., divorced when he was just three years old, and he was primarily raised by his aunt Sarah. Mays' father and grandfather both had been baseball players, his father and namesake a talented player for the Negro team with the local iron plant. By the age of 5, Mays was playing catch with his father, and by 10, he was sitting on the bench during his father's games.

So it didn't take long before Mays was playing himself -- semipro ball by the age of 16. Mays played baseball, basketball and football in school, excelling in all of them. In 1948, at 17, he joined the Birmingham Black Barons, which made it all the way to the Negro Leagues World Series.

Because he was still in high school at the time, Mays played only on Sundays during the school year. Still, he performed well enough the grab the attention of several major league scouts, including one from the New York Giants. The team purchased his contract once he graduated in 1950, assigning Mays to its Trenton affiliate.

Professional Career

Minor league career

Willie Mays hit.353 in Trenton in 1950 and was promoted to Triple-A Minneapolis for the start of the 1951 season. In 35 games with the team, Mays hit .477 and was called up to the major leagues on May 24, 1951, becoming just the 10th African-American player in major league history.

New York Giants (1951-57)

Mays got off to a slow start in the majors, going hitless in his first 12 at-bats. In his 13th at-bat, though, he hit a home run off future Hall-of-Famer Warren Spahn, snapping him out of his slump. Despite having only a .274 batting average, 20 home runs and 68 RBI in 121 games, Mays won the 1951 Rookie of the Year Award. His team staged one of the most dramatic comebacks in baseball history, culminating in Bobby Thompson's "Shot Heard Round the World" that defeated the Brooklyn Dodgers in a best-of-three playoff for the National League pennant. Mays was on deck when the famous home run took place.

After a two-year hiatus due to military service in the U.S. Army, Mays returned to baseball in 1954. He led the league in hitting with a .345 average and blasted 41 home runs, taking home the MVP Trophy in the process.

The Giants went to the World Series, where they swept the Cleveland Indians, 4-0. It was there that Mays made one of the most famous defensive plays in baseball history, tracking down a long fly ball off the bat of Vic Wertz, then whirling around and throwing the ball back to the infield to prevent the runners from scoring after the fact.

At both the plate and in the field, Mays continued to do things that baseball had never seen before, creating the 30-30 club in 1956 when he stole 40 bases to go along with hitting 36 home runs. In 1957, Mays won the first-ever Gold Glove for center field, the first of 12 consecutive times he would be so honored. Mays also became just the second player in baseball history to have 20 doubles, triples, home runs and steals in the same season in 1957.

During his time in New York, Mays was part of a triumvirate of Hall-of-Fame centerfielders, along with Mickey Mantle of the Yankees and Duke Snider of the Brooklyn Dodgers. The trio combined for 17 All-Star appearances in New York between 1950 and 1957. They also manned center field in five Subway Series during that span.

San Francisco Giants (1958-72)

After the 1957 season, the two New York NL franchises moved west, with the Dodgers going to Los Angeles and the Giants moving to San Francisco. The trip west did nothing to slow Mays down. That first season in California, Mays had a career-best .347 batting average and missed his third straight 30-30 season by just one home run.

In 1962, the Giants once again finished the regular season tied with the Dodgers, with Mays hitting 49 home runs and driving in 141 runs during the regular season. Once again, the Giants won the three-game playoff, Mays hitting two home runs in the opener. The Giants lost to the Yankees in the World Series in seven games.

The 1965 season marked Mays' second MVP campaign. He belted a career-high 52 home runs, including the 500th of his illustrious career, on Sept. 13, 1965, against Don Nottebart of the Houston Astros. After the season, Mays signed a two-year contract that made him the highest paid player in all of baseball.

Although Mays continued to make the All-Star Game year after year, his production began a slow and steady decline over the following six seasons. In 1971, at the age of 40, Mays hit only .271 with 18 home runs and a career-high 123 strikeouts.

New York Mets (1972-73)

In the middle of the 1972 season, the Giants traded Mays back to New York, where he joined the Mets in exchange for Charlie Williams and $50,000. Although he was no longer able to play more than part-time, and often was slotted at first base instead of in the outfield, in 1973 Mays helped the Mets to reach the post-season for only the second time in the club's history.

In the playoffs, Mays went 3-for-10 for the Mets as they defeated the Reds in the NLCS before falling to the Oakland A's in the World Series. After the final game, Mays called it quits, officially retiring from baseball with a career batting average of .302, 3,283 hits and 660 home runs.

Post-playing career

After retiring, Mays remained in the New York Mets organization, helping out as the team's hitting instructor until the end of the 1979 season.

That same year, Mays, along with Mickey Mantle, accepted a public relations job with Bally's casino in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Because of the gambling connection, even though no sports betting exists in New Jersey, Commissioner Bowie Kuhn banned the pair from baseball-related activities (commissioner Peter Ueberroth lifted the ban in 1985).

During the 1981 baseball strike, Terry Cashman released the song "Talkin' Baseball", which was inspired by a picture of Mays, Mantle and Snider and recalled the glory days of of baseball in the 1950s.

After Ueberroth lifted Mays' ban from baseball, he became a fulltime special assistant to the Giants, a position he has held for close to 25 years. He also serves on the advisory board of the Baseball Assistance Team, an organization dedicated to helping former players through financial and medical difficulties.

Legacy

Mays' No. 24 jersey was retired by the San Francisco Giants in 1972, the same year he left the team. Mays' godson is slugger Barry Bonds, whose father Bobby was a teammate and close friend of Mays in San Francisco. Mays offered his jersey number to his godson to wear, but Bonds declined, opting instead to wear his father's No. 25.

In January 1979, Mays was elected to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in his first year of eligibility. Somehow, 23 of the 432 voters did not see fit to make the election unanimous.

The current stadium of the San Francisco Giants is located at 24 Willie Mays Plaza, and every May 24 in the city of San Francisco is celebrated as Willie Mays Day.

Mays was ranked second in The Sporting News' 100 Greatest Baseball Players in 1999. His career total of 7,095 outfield fielding putouts remains the major league record.

Personal

Mays married his first wife, Margherite Wendell Chapman, in 1956 and they divorced in the early '60s. They adopted a son, Michael, in 1959. Mays remarried, to Mae Louise Allen, in 1971.

Source: ESPN

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