Willie Mays – 1931–
Mays started playing baseball in the Negro National League in 1948. At about this time, Jackie Robinson crossed the “color line,” and major league baseball was integrated. Mays was recruited by the New York (later San Francisco) Giants for the minors in 1950 and entered the major league team in 1951. By 1966, he was earning the highest salary of any baseball player of the time. In 1972, he was traded to the New York Mets and retired the following year. His home run career total was 660 and his batting average .302. He had 3,283 hits to his credit. Many fans consider him baseball’s best all-around player.