Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Willie Turns 84!/img/httpImage/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/article_970/alg-willie-mays-ps-46-jpg.jpg

Happy birthday Willie Mays!  My favorite baseball player (and my dad's).

Catching Willie Mays in a rundown is like trying to assassinate a squirrel with a lawnmower

- Bill James

Let's sing along on his birthday!
(L to R, Stan Musial (Cards), Mays, Vernon Law (Pirates), Eddie Mathews (Braves), Ken Boyer (Cards) in 1960, probably at the All-Star game)  For more on Stan Musial and his role in welcoming black players into the major leagues see Earl & The Man.

And let's do a peak performance retrospective as we did recently with Eddie Collins.  Willie's peak was a bit shorter - 13 seasons.  After his rookie season in 1951, Mays spent two years doing military service, returning in time for the 1954 season.  From then until the end of the 1966 season was a run of sustained brilliance with a higher peak than Collins.  Here's what it looks like:

1954 - 1966 (figures in parens are number of seasons)

WAR Position Players:  Top 4 for all 13 seasons; 11 seasons #1 or #2

Batting Average:  Top Ten (9)

On-Base %: Top Ten (13); Top 5 (8)

Slugging:  Top Five (13)

Runs:  Top Ten (13), Top Five (11)

Total Bases:  Top Five (13)

Home Runs:  Top Ten (13), Top Five (11)

RBIs: Top Ten (12)

Walks: Top Ten (10)

Stolen Bases: Top Ten (10), Top Five (7)

OPS+: Top Ten (13), Top Five (12)

Putouts: Top Four (13), 10 seasons #1 or #2

Assists: Top Four (12), 7 seasons #1 or #2

Double Plays: Top Four (11), 7 seasons #1 or #2  

1 comment:

  1. Love the review. Truly a baseball great! dm