On November 15, 1951 – The Baseball Writers Association of America name New York Giant outfielder Willie Mays and Gil McDougald of the New York Yankees as American league Rookie of the Year. The Chicago White Sox object to McDougald’s accolade, offering the statistical accomplishments of their superlative rookie, Minnie Miñoso. Their club’s spring training rosters did not include either player’s name.
Giant outfielder Mays, The young rookie appeared in his first major league game on May 25 against the Philadelphia Phillies at Shibe Park, batting third in the lineup and recording no hits in four at bats. He began his major league career with no hits in his first 12 at bats, but in his 13th on May 28, he hit a towering home run up and over the left field roof of the Polo Grounds off future Hall of Famer Warren Spahn.”For the first sixty feet, it was a helluva pitch,” Spahn said. Mays’s struggles continued after the home run, which was his only hit in his first 25 at bats, and Durocher dropped him to eighth in the batting order on June 2. He encouraged his young hitter, though, telling Mays, “you’re the greatest ballplayer I ever saw or hoped to see” and suggesting that Mays stop trying to pull the ball and just try to make contact. Mays responded with four hits over his next two games on June 2 and June 3, and he pushed his batting average to over .300 by the end of the month.
Mays would end the Year with Batting .274, 20 HR 22 DB and 68 RBI’s
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