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    1951 Bowman Willie Mays Rookie #305 PSA NM-MT 8. When this Bowman rookie card debuted, fans didn't yet know the greatness they had - on the field or in their wax pack. Mays played ball for the Birmingham Black Barons of the Negro American League from 1948-50. He signed with the New York Giants in '50 and was assigned to the minors. In 1951, at Minneapolis in Triple-A, Mays was hitting .477 after 33 games, and the Giants called him up. Mays was that season's NL Rookie of the Year in hitting 20 home runs and batting .274 and helping the Giants win the National League pennant in their great NL play-off against the Brooklyn Dodgers.

    Mays was the epitome of the five-tool player. He was ideally suited to the Giants' enormous center field at the Polo Grounds. In 1954, he won the NL batting crown and led the Giants to a World Series win against the Cleveland Indians, in Game One making his marvelous game-saving over the shoulder catch in deepest center field - a play now referred to simply as "The Catch." Mays played from 1951 through the early part of the 1972 season with the New York/San Francisco Giants, then was traded to the New York Mets, where he played through 1973. For many years, his 660 homers were second only to Ruth. Hall of Famer Mays hit .302 lifetime.

    This Mays card is a phenomenal example that features almost perfect centering, beautiful white borders, sharp corners and clarity. Many of these cards will come with black print lines and this is free of that and adds to the overall eye appeal of this specimen. The only thing that will detract a little bit is the wax stain on the reverse.

    The 1951 Bowman baseball set, its largest ever at 324 cards, is an all-time classic. Bowman was the sole national baseball card producer in 1950, but they knew Topps would be a rival in 1951, so they went all out on this beautiful set. The player's likeness is derived from a colorized B&W photograph. The final 72 cards, including Mays and Mantle, the "high numbers," are scarcer than the earlier numbers. Graded PSA NM-MT 8.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    May, 2021
    6th-8th Thursday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 21
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 1,444

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