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Willie Mays' top five homers
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09/11/2003  2:30 PM ET 
Willie Mays' top five homers
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Willie Mays celebrates his four homers in one game, on April 30, 1961. (AP)
A look at the Say Hey Kid's career

1. July 2, 1963: A dozen years after Willie Mays had his first Major League homer off Warren Spahn, the two eventual Hall of Famers were matched up again. This time, it was the bottom of the 16th inning at Candlestick Park, in a scoreless tie between Mays' Giants and Spahn's Milwaukee Braves. Amazingly, Juan Marichal and Spahn each had worked every inning to that point. The 'Say-Hey Kid' ended the duel with a dramatic solo homer, besting Spahn again.

2. Opening Day, 1954: If he had not missed half the 1952 season and all of 1953 because of his military hitch, it's possible that Mays would be in the '700' club. But he did, and Giants manager Leo Durocher was confident when he saw Mays back at 1954 spring training that a pennant was just ahead. Mays would justify that prediction, and he would do so with swift action. On Opening Day, he hit the first of his 41 homers, quickly arriving as a power hitter.

3. All-Star Games, 1960: Mays played in 24 All-Star Games over 20 years, including the four-year stretch in which they played two during each break. The pinnacle for him was the 1960 pair, which was actually spread over two days. He was largely responsible for the NL's progressive dominance in that event, going a combined 6-for-8 in the leadoff slot as his league won both games. The first game was July 11 in Kansas City, and the second one was a New York homecoming two days later at Yankee Stadium. In that game, Mays singled and then hit a home run to stand at 6-for-6 against Hall of Famer Whitey Ford, who his favorite pitcher and had the home crowd behind him. Mays added another single later, finishing the two-day event with a homer, a triple, four singles, two runs and a stolen base.
Mays' All-Star homer off Whitey Ford: 56k | 300k

4. May 14, 1972: Mays spent most of his career out West after Horace Stoneham moved the Giants from the Polo Grounds, but he made a triumphant return to New York by hitting a game-winning homer in his first game with the Mets in 1972. It was a fifth-inning shot of Don Crithers in a 5-4 victory -- appropriately, over the San Francisco Giants.

5. Minor leagues, 1951: Mays started the 1951 season at the Giants' Triple-A affiliate in Minneapolis, and he made a quick impression on management and the fence. He hit one of his line drives so hard that it went through the wooden wall. Instead of patching up the fence, club officials decided to paint a circle around it as a tribute. The hole remained there until they tore down the ballpark years later.

A look at the Say Hey Kid's career





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