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Monday, June 20, 2011

Willie Mays as a NY Met

The upcoming series with Oakland can't help but remind Mets Blob and long time Met fans of the 1973 World Series. The Mets fell to the Oakland A's in 7 games. "Mr. October" Reggie Jackson won his first of two World Series MVP awards in the '73 series. The series also saw the great Willie Mays' last game as a NY Met and a professional baseball player.

(from Wikipedia)

Willie Mays • New York Mets (1972–73)

In May 1972, the 41-year-old Mays was traded to the New York Mets for pitcher Charlie Williams and $50,000 ($262,490 in current dollar terms). At the time, the Giants franchise was losing money. Owner Horace Stoneham could not guarantee Mays an income after retirement and the Mets offered Mays a position as a coach upon his retirement.

Mays had remained popular in New York long after the Giants had left for San Francisco, and the trade was seen as a public relations coup for the Mets. Mets owner Joan Whitney Payson, who was a minority shareholder of the Giants when the team was in New York, had long desired to bring Mays back to his baseball roots, and was instrumental in making the trade. On May 14, 1972, in his Mets debut, Mays put New York ahead to stay with a fifth-inning home run against Don Carrithers and his former team, the Giants, on a rainy Sunday afternoon at Shea Stadium. Then on August 17, 1973, in a game against the Cincinnati Reds with Don Gullett on the mound, Willie hit a fourth inning solo home run over the right center field fence. This was the 660th and last of his illustrious major league career.

Mays played a season and a half with the Mets before retiring, appearing in 133 games. The New York Mets honored him on September 25, 1973, (Willie Mays' Night) where he thanked the New York fans and said good-bye to America. He finished his career in the 1973 World Series, which the Mets lost to the Oakland Athletics in seven games. Mays got the first hit of the Series, but had only seven at-bats (with two hits). He also fell down in the outfield during a play where he was hindered by the glare of the sun and by the hard outfield. Mays later said, "growing old is just a helpless hurt." In 1972 and 1973, Mays was the oldest regular position player in baseball. He became the oldest position player to appear in a World Series game.

Mays retired after the 1973 season with a lifetime batting average of .302 and 660 home runs. His lifetime total of 7,095 outfield fielding putouts remains the major league record.

Mays is the only Major League player to have hit a home run in every inning from the 1st through the 16th. He finished his career with a record 22 extra-inning home runs.

1 comment:

  1. Does anyone have a link to his retirement speech? It used to be on before MLB took over all the websites.