09/03/2003 3:24 PM ET
Willie Mays timeline
May 6, 1931: Willie Howard Mays Jr. born in Westfield, Ala.
May 25, 1951: Makes his debut with the New York Giants after batting .477 with Minneapolis and goes 0-for-5 against the Phillies. He strikes out in his first at-bat, against Bubba Church, but New York wins, 8-5. That season he helps the Giants win the National League pennant and was named the Senior Circuit's Rookie of the Year.
May 28, 1951: Hits a homer off Warren Spahn in his first at-bat at the Giants' home field, the Polo Grounds, after going 0-for-12 as a rookie.
Oct. 4, 1951: Becomes part of the first black outfield with Hank Thompson and Monte Irvin in the opening game of the World Series.
May 28, 1952: Switches spiked shoes for army boots at Camp Kilmer in New Jersey after being drafted into the Army.
Sept. 14, 1954: Hits a first-inning double and scores in the Giants' 1-0 victory over the Cardinals, boosting Johnny Antonelli to his 21st win of the year. The two-bagger was his 82nd extra-base hit, which cracked Mel Ott's team mark.
Sept. 29, 1954: Makes an unbelievable running, over-the-shoulder catch of Vic Wertz's 462-foot drive to center field in the World Series. He returned from the service and guided the Giants to four straight victories over the Cleveland Indians in the Fall Classic and led the NL with a .345 mark, 41 homers and 110 RBIs.
November 1954: Named National League MVP.
Sept. 20, 1955: Hits two homers against the Pirates, his 49th and 50th of the season. Only seven players had hit 50 homers in a season.
1956: Steals 40 bases, the first of four consecutive take-a-bag titles.
November 1957: Earns the first of 12 Gold Gloves for his prowess in center field.
January 1958: Inks record-high $65,000 pact with the Giants.
April 15, 1958: Joins Giants in downtown welcoming parade in San Francisco and plays the Los Angeles Dodgers in the initial Major League game played on the West Coast.
May 12, 1958: Hits the first grand slam in San Francisco Giants history and homers again in a 12-3 win over the Dodgers.
Sept. 15, 1960: Ties the Major League record with three triples in a game against the Phillies.
April 30, 1961: Hits four homers in one game against the Braves in Milwaukee, accounting for eight RBIs.
July 4, 1961: Slugs his 300th career homer against the Cubs as the Giants roll, 19-3.
Oct. 1, 1962: Hammers two home runs for 49 on the year as San Francisco wins the first game of the NL playoffs.
July 1963: Captures MVP honors at the All-Star Game.
May 4, 1966: Hits his 512th home run to break former Giant Mel Ott's National League record in a 6-1 San Francisco victory.
Sept. 22, 1969: Joins Babe Ruth in the 600-homer club with a pinch-hit shot off Mike Corkins in the Giants' 4-2 victory over San Diego.
July 18, 1970: Records his 3,000th career hit with a single off Montreal's Mike Wegener.
May 11, 1972: Traded to the Mets for minor league pitcher Charlie Williams and cash.
Aug. 17, 1973: Hits the final home run of his career, No. 660, off Cincinnati's Don Gullett.
Jan. 23, 1979: Elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame after being named on 95 percent of the ballots from the Baseball Writers Association of America.
Aug. 5, 1979: Inducted into the Hall of Fame with Veterans Committee selections Warren Giles and Hack Wilson.
Rich Draper is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
By Rich Draper / MLB.com