Rare Photos of Willie Mays

After terrorizing minor league pitching, Mays gets his ticket from Omaha, Neb., to New York to join the Giants in May 1951. He hit .274 with 20 homers and 68 RBI during the year and won the Rookie of the Year award. - AP
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Willie Mays

Mays signs autographs at a New York Giants exhibition game in Oakland on March 21, 1952. - AP
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Willie Mays

Mays is sworn in as a private at the U.S. Army induction center in New York City on May 29, 1952. - Anthony Camerano/AP
4 of 104 Anthony Camerano/AP

Willie Mays

Mays marches during a drill at Camp Kilmer, N.J., in June 1952 as he prepares to be shipped to his basic training site. After winning the Rookie of the Year award in 1951, Mays was drafted into the army and missed most of the 1952 season and all of 1953. - AP
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Willie Mays

Giants outfielder Monte Irvin hands liquor boxes to Mays in front of their Willmont Liquors, Inc. store in Brooklyn. - Nick Sorrentino/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images
7 of 104 Nick Sorrentino/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

Monte Irvin and Willie Mays

Mays shaves in the locker room during the 1954 season. He won the NL MVP award that year, after hitting .345 with 41 homers and 110 RBI. - John Dominis//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images
8 of 104 John Dominis//Time Life Pictures/Getty Images

Willie Mays

Mays amazes centerfield fans with a leaping, one-handed catch of Duke Snider's long drive in 1954. - Charles Hoff/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images
10 of 104 Charles Hoff/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

Willie Mays

Mays makes his iconic over-the-shoulder catch deep in center during the eighth inning of Game 1 of the 1954 World Series. The catch preserved a 2-2 tie and allowed the Giants, who swept the series, to win the game in the 10th inning. - Frank Hurley/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images
11 of 104 Frank Hurley/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

Willie Mays

Mays on the April 11, 1955 cover of SI with celebrity actress Loraine Day Durocher and manager Leo Durocher during spring training. - Hy Peskin
13 of 104 Hy Peskin

Willie Mays

Substituting a cowboy hat for his baseball cap and winding up a lariat, Mays takes a breather from practice at training camp in Phoenix on March 10, 1955. - Harold Filan/AP
14 of 104 Harold Filan/AP

Willie Mays

The Giants centerfielder autographs baseballs in the Giants dressing room after a game with Milwaukee was rained out in September 1956. During that season, Mays hit .296 with 36 homers. He also led the league with 40 stolen bases. - AP
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Willie Mays

Mays gets attention from Giants trainer Frank Bowman at the Polo Grounds in New York on May 26, 1956. Mays was struck as he walked into a pre-game warm-up session between Al Dark and Daryl Spencer. - Ray Howard/AP
17 of 104 Ray Howard/AP

Willie Mays

Mays shows some of the gifts he received from fans in Trenton, N.J., before a game there. After signing with the Giants, Mays was assigned to their Class-B minor league affiliate in Trenton. He hit .353 in his time there. - AP
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Willie Mays

Mays' wife, Marguerite, feeds him soup while his dog Pope licks his hand during spring training in 1957. Mays missed a day of practice with a virus. Mays and Marguerite married in 1956 but divorced approximately six years later. - AP
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Willie and Margherite Mays

Mays finishes his swing in this 1957 photo. - Richard Meek/SI
22 of 104 Richard Meek/SI

Willie Mays

Mays rides in a convertible during a parade down Montgomery Street on Opening Day of the Giants' first season in San Francisco. - Richard Meek/SI
23 of 104 Richard Meek/SI

Willie Mays

Stan Musial and Mays pose for a photo before their game on July 5, 1958. The pair were first and second in the NL batting race at the time. Richie Ashburn of the Phillies eventually passed both to win the batting title with a .350 average. Mays finished second (.347) and Musial took third (.337). - AP
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Stan Musial and Willie Mays

Mays and his teammates chat with reporters before the Giants' inaugural game in San Francisco in 1958. - Richard Meek/SI
26 of 104 Richard Meek/SI

San Francisco Giants Locker Room

Mays rests at home after he had 35 stitches taken in his leg, March 19, 1959. Mays split his leg open when he slid into home plate during an exhibition game between the Giants and Boston Red Sox. - Harold Filan/AP
28 of 104 Harold Filan/AP

Willie Mays

Mays lets out a yell as Dr. Jim Thorpe applies an antiseptic to a cut on his hand, which he sustained while trying to hit baseballs out of Wrigley Field, Nov. 24, 1959. Mays and Mickey Mantle were making a pilot film for possible television use in which they try to out-slug each other. - Harold Filan/AP
29 of 104 Harold Filan/AP

Willie Mays

Mays poses with Stan Musial, Vernon Law, Ed Mathews and Ken Boyer after the National League won the 1960 All-Star game 6-0. Law was the winning pitcher and the four each hit home runs to help in the effort. - AP
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Stan Musial, Willie Mays, Vernon Law, Ed Mathews and Ken Boyer

The legendary baseball player's father, Willie Mays, Sr., holds the ballplayer's adopted son, Michael Mays, at the 1961 All-Star game. Mays was playing in his seventh of 20 straight All-Star games that year. - AP
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Willie and Michael Mays

Mays proudly displays the four baseballs in the clubhouse representing the four homers, which he hit April 30 1961 against the Milwaukee Braves in Milwaukee. The four homers tied the record of four homers in a single game held by nine other major league players at the time. - AP
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Willie Mays

After three days of tests at Mt. Zion Hospital in San Francisco, Mays was pronounced healthy in November 1962. The outfielder checked himself in to make sure his fainting spell two months earlier came from exhaustion and nothing more serious. The hospital's Willie May Fan Club presents him with a cake before he checks out. - AP
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Willie Mays

San Francisco Giant Willie Mays with New York manager Casey Stengel during a May 1963 game at the Polo Grounds. - Tony Triolo/SI
37 of 104 Tony Triolo/SI

Willie Mays and Casey Stengel

San Francisco traded catcher Ed Bailey to Milwaukee and the following day outfielder Willie Mays put on the backstop togs. He was wearing the mask and protectors for his role on the Donna Reed Show in December 1963 in which he plays himself and teaches would-be ballplayers something about catching. - AP
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Willie Mays

Mays takes part in a demonstration at the Red Cross Volunteer Swim Aide School in 1964. He helped show children the proper technique for CPR. - AP
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Willie Mays and Red Cross Vounteers

Mays slides into home as the plate umpire calls him safe during a 1965 game. - NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images
41 of 104 NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

Willie Mays

After winning his second MVP award, the Say Hey Kid hit the links for a quick round of golf. Mays was on every ballot cast after hitting .317 with 52 home runs and 112 RBI in 1965. - AP
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Willie Mays

Mays and Yankees legend (and then Mets coach) Yogi Berra try out a new bobsled at a sporting goods fair at the Hotel New Yorker in 1966. - AP
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Willie Mays and Yogi Berra

Mays breaks the National League record for home runs when he hit his 512th round-tripper in May 1966.
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Willie Mays

Mays sits back and poses for a photograph late in the 1960s. - by Focus on Sport/Getty Images
47 of 104 by Focus on Sport/Getty Images

Willie Mays

Mays, licks his fingers after cutting his 37th birthday cake given to him by Judge Roy Hofheinz just before the game with his Houston Astros, May 6, 1968. The 569-pound cake, one pound for each of Mays' home runs, contains 3,800 eggs, 150 pounds butter, 150 pounds sugar, 300 pounds flour, and 100 pounds of almonds. The cake is in the figure of 24, Mays' uniform number. - Ed Kolenovsky/AP
49 of 104 Ed Kolenovsky/AP

Willie Mays

Joining Yankee legend Babe Ruth, Willie Mays became the second major leaguer to hit 600 home runs when he went yard on Padres hurler Mike Corkins in the Giants' 4-2 victory on Sept. 22, 1969. - Diamond Images/Getty Images
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Willie Mays

Mays eats part of the birthday cake presented to him before the start of a game with the Phillies on May 6, 1972. The outfielder was traded to the Mets a week later. - AP
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Willie Mays

Mays and John F. Kennedy, Jr., pose for a photo outside Shea Stadium in 1972. Mays had been traded to the Mets less than three weeks earlier. - JERRY SISKIND/AFP/Getty Images
53 of 104 JERRY SISKIND/AFP/Getty Images

John F. Kennedy, Jr. and Willie Mays

Mays sits with Claire Ruth, the widow of Yankees' legend Babe Ruth, at a 1972 luncheon honoring players featured in the book, "Sports Immortals." When Ruth was asked how she felt about Hank Aaron closing in on her late husband's all-time home run record, Mays whispered to her, "Don't worry, Mrs. Ruth. No one will ever take the place of the Babe." - AP
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Claire Ruth and Willie Mays

A fan grabs Mays in right field as another player from the bullpen grabs a fan at Shea Stadium on Oct. 10, 1973. - Vincent Riehl/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images
56 of 104 Vincent Riehl/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

Willie Mays and Fans

Mays is doused with champagne at Wrigley Field on Oct. 1, 1973, after his Mets defeated the Cubs 6-4 to take the National League East division championship. Mays had announced his retirement with the end of the baseball season. - AP
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Willie Mays

Mays talks to Tonight Show guest host Burt Reynolds on July 15, 1974. - NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images
59 of 104 NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

Willie Mays and Burt Reynolds

Mays packs for spring training in his apartment in Riverdale, N.Y., in February 1977. After retiring in 1973, Mays worked for the Mets as a hitting instructor. - AP
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Willie Mays

Mets outfielder Lee Mazzilli and manager Joe Torre listen to Mays talk about outfield defense in February 1978. The Mets brought in the 12-time Gold Glove winner to work on Mazzilli's defense and teach him the famed basket catch. - AP
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Lee Mazzilli, Joe Torre and Willie Mays

Mays wipes sweat from his wife's face as they ride the "A" train to the former sight of the Polo Grounds, the long-time home of the New York Giants. The Colgate women's games paid tribute to Mays on Aug. 2, 1979, the day this photo was taken. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame three days later. - AP
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Willie Mays and Mae Louise Allen

Mays holds his plaque as he waves to the crowd at Hall of Fame induction ceremonies on Aug. 5, 1979 in Cooperstown, N.Y. - Rusty Kennedy/AP
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Willie Mays

Willie Mays kisses his wife Mae after signing a long term contract with Bally Corp. in New York on Oct. 29, 1979 as Bally executive William S. Weinberger looks on. Forced to choose between the game he loves and a lucrative contract to work for an Atlantic City, N.J., hotel and gambling Casino owned by Bally, Mays announced he would terminate his active relationship with the sport. - Marty Lederhandler/AP
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Willie and Mae Mays

Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle and Bob Gibson discuss their sport on ABC's Good Morning America broadcast on Dec. 27, 1982. - David Bookstaver/AP
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Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Bob Gibson

Mays jokes with other former athletes promoting the "21" Club's second annual Greatest Sports Legends reunion in 1983. Joining Mays were former hockey player Phil Esposito, wrestler Bruno Sammartino and basketball player Walt Frazier. - AP
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Phil Esposito, Bruno Sammartino, Willie Mays and Walt Frazier

Willie Mays pulls out his retired jersey at a press conference in San Francisco on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 1986, announcing his return to the San Francisco Giants as special assistant to the club's president. - Jeff Reinking/AP
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Willie Mays

Mays poses with fellow Hall of Famer Willie McCovey during spring training in March 1986. Mays has been a special assistant for the franchise since that season. - Getty Images
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Willie Mays, Willie McCovey

Willie Mays clowns around with Luke Appling before an Old Timers Baseball Classic at R.F.K. Stadium on June 23, 1986. - J. Scott Applewhite/AP
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Willie Mays, Luke Appling

Mays rides in a convertible, waving to cheering fans, at the Giants' Old-Timers Day in 1988. - Louis DeLuca/MLB Photos via Getty Images
76 of 104 Louis DeLuca/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Willie Mays

Hank Aaron and Willie Mays attend the private screening of the movie "Tron" in New York City in July 1988. - Frankie Ziths/AP
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Hank Aaron, Willie Mays

Willie Mays accepts a tributary award from actor James Earl Jones during taping of the Baseball Relief: An All-Star Comedy Salute on Saturday, Oct. 3, 1993 in Pasadena, Calif. - Mark J Terill/AP
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Willie Mays, James Earl Jones

Former San Francisco Giants great Willie Mays chats with Giants Will Clark in October 1993, - Eric Risberg/AP
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Will Clark, Willie Mays

Willie Mays, Bobby Bonds, Andre Dawson and Barry Bonds pose during a ceremony honoring the exclusive four members of the 300 home runs/300 stolen bases club on April 28, 1996. - Susan Ragan/AP
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Willie Mays, Bobby Bonds, Andre Dawson, Barry Bonds

Willie Mays speaks with actress Brooke Shields prior to a San Francisco Giants game against the Colorado Rockies in June 2002. - Ben Margot/AP
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Willie Mays, Brooke Shields

Mays and Mickey Mantle on the July 14-July 21, 2003 SI cover.
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Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle

Mays poses with his Godson, Barry Bonds during a 2004 SI photo shoot. - Walter Iooss Jr./SI
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Willie Mays and Barry Bonds

Actor Bernie Mac and Willie Mays attend the premiere of Touchstone Pictures' "Mr. 3000" on Sept. 8, 2004 in Los Angeles. - Kevin Winter/Getty Images
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Bernie Mac, Willie Mays

Willie Mays uses his hand to chop through a large birthday cake presented in honor of his 75th birthday on May 12, 2006. Giants' Jose Vizcaino, left, laughs and former Giant and current broadcaster Tito Fuentes, center, applauds. - Eric Risberg/AP
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Willie Mays

Greg Norman, international team captain at the 2009 Presidents Cup golf competition, looks on as former baseball great Willie Mays flips a coin for the start of the second round. - Robyn Beck/AFP/Getty Images
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Willie Mays, Greg Norman

Mays, Billie Jean King and Harry Belafonte are presented to the crowd prior to the 2010 MLB Civil Rights game between on May 15, 2010. - John Grieshop/MLB Photos via Getty Images
92 of 104 John Grieshop/MLB Photos via Getty Images

Willie Mays, Billie Jean King, Harry Belafonte

Nick Buoniconti, Willie Mays and Bill Russell attend the 25th Great Sports Legends Dinner on Sept. 27, 2010 in New York City. - Thos Robinson/Getty Images for The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis
94 of 104 Thos Robinson/Getty Images for The Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis

Nick Buoniconti, Mays and Bill Russell

Willie Mays throws out a ceremonial first pitch before Game 5 of baseball's National League Championship Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and the San Francisco Giants on Oct. 21, 2010, in San Francisco. - Jeff Chiu/AP
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Willie Mays

Willie Mays waves as he rides in the Giants World Series ticker-tape parade in November 2010 after they defeated the Texas Rangers in five games for their first championship since the team moved west from New York 52 years ago. - Jeff Chiu/AP
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Willie Mays

Willie Mays looks over his 2010 World Series championship ring that was presented to him by Giants center fielder Andres Torres on April, 9, 2011. - Eric Risberg, Pool/AP
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Willie Mays, Andres Torres

Willie Mays with San Francisco Giants chief executive officer Larry Baer during the San Francisco Giants 2014 World Series Ring ceremony on April 18, 2015. - Brad Mangin/MLB Photos via Getty Images
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Hank Aaron, Johnny Bench, Sandy Koufax and Willie Mays are introduced during a Tribute to Greatest Living Players before the MLB 2015 All-Star baseball game in Cincinnati. - John Minchillo/AP
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Hank Aaron, Johnny Bench, Sandy Koufax and Mays

President Barack Obama presents Willie Mays with the Presidential Medal of Freedom during the 2015 ceremony at the White House on Nov. 24, 2015. - Kris Connor/WireImage
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Willie Mays and President Barack Obama

Broadcaster Vin Scully (left) is congratulated on his final broadcast by Willie Mays on Oct. 2, 2016 in San Francisco. - Jason O. Watson/Getty Images
104 of 104 Jason O. Watson/Getty Images

Vin Scully, Willie Mays


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