Willie Mays San Francisco Giants

Age: 89 (May 06, 1931) | aka Say Hey | 5' 11" | 180lbs. | Bats: Right
Tm Lg YEAR G AB R H BB SO 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BA OBP SLG BB% SO% BABIP G/L/F % $4x4 $5x5
NY1 NL 1951 121 464 59 127 57 60 22 5 20 68 7 4 .274 .356 .472 11 11 .279 n/a
NY1 NL 1952 34 127 17 30 16 17 2 4 4 23 4 1 .236 .326 .409 11 12 .245 n/a
NY1 NL 1954 151 565 119 195 66 57 33 13 41 110 8 5 .345 .411 .667 10 9 .325 n/a
NY1 NL 1955 152 580 123 185 79 60 18 13 51 127 24 4 .319 .400 .659 12 9 .282 n/a
NY1 NL 1956 152 578 101 171 68 65 27 8 36 84 40 10 .296 .369 .557 10 10 .281 n/a
NY1 NL 1957 152 585 112 195 76 62 26 20 35 97 38 19 .333 .407 .626 11 9 .324 n/a
SF NL 1958 152 600 121 208 78 56 33 11 29 96 31 6 .347 .419 .583 11 8 .344 n/a
SF NL 1959 151 575 125 180 65 58 43 5 34 104 27 4 .313 .381 .583 10 9 .299 n/a
SF NL 1960 153 595 107 190 61 70 29 12 29 103 25 10 .319 .381 .555 9 10 .319 n/a
SF NL 1961 154 572 129 176 81 77 32 3 40 123 18 9 .308 .393 .584 12 12 .296 n/a
SF NL 1962 162 621 130 189 78 85 36 5 49 141 18 2 .304 .384 .615 11 12 .286 n/a
SF NL 1963 157 596 115 187 66 83 32 7 38 103 8 3 .314 .380 .582 10 12 .309 n/a
SF NL 1964 157 578 121 171 82 72 21 9 47 111 19 5 .296 .383 .607 12 11 .268 n/a
SF NL 1965 157 558 118 177 76 71 21 3 52 112 9 4 .317 .398 .645 12 11 .286 n/a
SF NL 1966 152 552 99 159 70 81 29 4 37 103 5 1 .288 .368 .556 11 13 .279 n/a
SF NL 1967 141 486 83 128 51 92 22 2 22 70 6 0 .263 .334 .453 9 17 .283 n/a
SF NL 1968 148 498 84 144 67 81 20 5 23 79 12 6 .289 .372 .488 12 14 .302 n/a
SF NL 1969 117 403 64 114 49 71 17 3 13 58 6 2 .283 .362 .437 11 15 .313 n/a
SF NL 1970 139 478 94 139 79 90 15 2 28 83 5 0 .291 .390 .506 14 16 .303 n/a
SF NL 1971 136 417 82 113 112 123 24 5 18 61 23 3 .271 .425 .482 21 23 .339 n/a
SF NL 1972 19 49 8 9 17 5 2 0 0 3 3 0 .184 .394 .224 25 8 .205 n/a
NYN NL 1972 69 195 27 52 43 43 9 1 8 19 1 5 .267 .402 .446 18 18 .306 n/a
NYN NL 1973 66 209 24 44 27 47 10 0 6 25 1 0 .211 .303 .344 11 20 .242 n/a
Career 22yrs 2992 10881 2062 3283 1464 1526 523 140 660 1903 338 103 .302 .384 .557 12 12 .299 n/a
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Of course, 100 is just a number to throw out there. Ten years at Candlestick, that around 810 games, an *extra* 100 pumps? Not really likely.

That said, there was lots of weather at Candlestick, and it wasn't always the same. The wind was mostly (though not always -- ask Ed Lynch, who once had his hat blown to the fence in a night game) in the summer afternoons, when the fog would roll in around 2:30, 3:00. At night, more often it was just cold. And wet. Seems plausible that homers would be depressed in that kind of weather.

They built the stands all the way around in 1971/72 (when the 49ers moved from Kezar) -- then the wind just swirled, instead of blowing in from left. I went a lot more often once it was enclosed, but I suspect it was always a pitchers' park. The game we always played was, what if Mays and Aaron had switched home parks?

Oh, and re 1962 -- there was a little forgettable movie called the Steagle, where Richard Benjamin played a teacher who cracks up during the Cuban missile crisis. It manifested with him putting Mays's numbers on the chalkboard and wondering how he could have been cheated out of the MVP award. (Which of course wouldn't have been awarded yet in October . . .)
mike fenger mike
Mar 1 '10
Pete Hammill, reviewing a new biography of Willie Mays: "I missed seeing Mays battle the winds that made Candlestick Park the worst stadium in baseball (probably costing him a hundred career home runs)."

Say what?

The Stick, which I only had the masochistic pleasure of experiencing once, was certainly the worst stadium in baseball. But was it the worst hitter's stadium -- specifically, for Willie Mays?

My impression was that he learned to ride the trade winds out to right center. The switch from the Polo Grounds to Candlestick may have been a blessing.

If it was, in this day and age it doesn't have to be disguised. Bill James or Pete Palmer or Baseball Prospectus or someone at SABR could quickly get to the bottom of this. And maybe already has.

My down and dirty search finds that Willie slugged .619 in the Polo Grounds and .563 at Candlestick, but that clearly isn't the final word.

If you're wondering, he slugged .903 -- .903! -- in Ebbets Field. In 165 AB he had 25 homers! Four doubles and two triples.

In 3044 AB in Candlestick, he had 19 triples. In 1374 AB in the Polo Grounds, he had 28 triples. Such a shame, really, that the Giants moved.

Playing in Seals Stadium in 1958, he slugged .585. The next year, the last in Seals, he slugged .535.

In 1960, the first year in Candlestick, he slugged .509.

Then .582.

Then .683.

Willie was getting the hang of it.

But that was 1962, an expansion year.

On the other hand -- bizarrely enough -- the NL slugging average was actually lower in 1962 than in 1961.

As I say, we need Pete Palmer.

For now, let's just leave it that Willie was not robbed of one hundred career homers by playing in Candlestick. No way. Not possible.

But suppose he was?

Barry Bonds would be two ahead of him right now on the career homer list.

That would hurt.
Alex Patton Alex
Mar 1 '10