Willie Mays is one of the legends who signed his fair share of autographs during the 1980s hobby explosion, but vintage examples of his signature remain much tougher to locate and are very desirable. Early examples of Mays’ signature are neater and smaller in appearance than those penned later on during public and private events. When it comes to vintage, team-signed baseballs, Mays often added his name, but many team balls feature a clubhouse Mays autograph. Early in his career, Mays appeared to be more responsive to mail requests, but by the early 1970s he often used a ghost signer to handle them. Much like contemporary star Hank Aaron, Mays virtually disappeared from the show circuit during the 2000s.
Willie Howard Mays (May 6, 1931-) is arguably the greatest centerfielder that major League Baseball has ever seen. Mays was a 24-time All-Star selection, a 12-time Gold Glove winner, the 1951 National League Rookie of the Year, a two-time NL Most Valuable Player (1954, 1965) and a member of the 1954 World Series champion New York Giants. Playing the majority of his 22-year career in a Giants uniform (1951-1952, 1954-1972), Mays’ numbers are among the best ever including his 660 career home runs, third behind Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth at the time of his retirement. Mays is often best remembered for his the iconic photograph of “The Catch”, an over-the-shoulder grab of a long drive by Vic Wertz in Game 1 of the 1954 World Series. Mays is one of five players to have eight straight seasons topping the 100-RBI mark. Power hitting Willie Mays waited in the on-deck circle when Bobby Thomson hit the “Shot Heard ‘Round the World”, perhaps influencing the pitching choices of Ralph Branca during that legendary playoff game. Willie Mays retired with 3,283 hits, 2,062 runs scored, 1,903 RBI, 338 stolen bases, 660 home runs and career .302 batting average. Willie Howard Mays was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979.