The Say Hey Kid won two MVP awards, played in a record-tying 24 All-Star Games and won 12 straight Gold Gloves; a rare blend of strength and speed, he was the first player to break the 300 mark in career homers and steals.
" Mays, who broke in with the New York Giants in 1951—DiMaggio's final season—was exceptional in every way.... Indeed, if it hadn't been heresy, Mays could have laid claim to DiMaggio's title [of greatest living ballplayer] while Joe D was still around."
—GERRY CALLAHAN SI, July 19, 1999
The Splendid Splinter, the last man to hit .400, won two Triple Crowns and two MVP awards and, despite losing almost five years to military service, hit 521 home runs, won six batting titles and had 16,300-plus seasons.
"The legend of the Kid's eyesight has only grown: He could follow the seams on a baseball as it rotated toward him at 95 mph. He could read the label on a record as it spun on a turntable. He stood at home plate one day and noticed that the angle to first base was slightly off; measuring proved him right, naturally, by two whole inches."
—S.L. PRICE SI, Nov. 25, 1996
Using only a fastball for most of his career, the Big Train won 20 or more games 12 times, led the league in strikeouts 12 times, notched 416 career wins and a record 110 shutouts and won two MVP awards.
"Consider the simple eloquence of Yankee Ping Bodie explaining why he struck out against Walter Johnson: 'You can't hit what you can't see.' "
—RON FIMRITE SI, June 16, 1975