Willie Mays Willie Mays played 22 years, the first 20 and part of his 21st with the Giants, with whom he made his major league debut in 1951. He was an instant star, exceptionally gifted with speed, power, and a tremendous arm, and he played six years in New York, missing much of 1952 and all of 1953 because of military service. The New York Giants won the World Series in 1954. It was during the 1954 series that Mays made "The Catch," an over-the-shoulder running grab in deep center field of the Polo Grounds off the bat of the Cleveland Indians' Vic Wertz. The Giants moved to San Francisco in 1958 in the midst of several losing seasons. They won the National League pennant in 1962, losing to the Yankees in the World Series. Mays won his second MVP award with the Giants in 1965. In May 1972 Mays, then 41, returned to New York requesting a trade to the New York Mets. The Mets also offered Mays a coaching position after his retirement. Mays remained popular in New York long after the Giants had left for San Francisco, and the trade was seen as a public relations coup for the Mets. In his Mets debut, Mays homered in the fifth inning against the Giants; it proved to be the game-winning hit. Mays made one more World Series appearance in 1973 when the Mets lost to the Oakland Athletics in seven games. He retired after the Series.