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‘The Catch’: Willie Mays’ highlight play 68 years later

‘The Catch’: Willie Mays’ highlight play 68 years later
Willie Mays played 21 years for the Giants organization. (Courtesy: Malcolm Emmons/USA TODAY Sports)
Andrew Florio

NEW YORK (BVM) – It has been 68 years since one of the most memorable plays in the history of baseball.

In Game 1 of the 1954 World Series, Cleveland slugger Vic Wertz drove a ball to center field in the deepest ballpark in MLB history, the Polo Grounds.

Willie Mays raced back and caught the ball over his shoulder, then fired it in to prevent any runners on base from advancing.

At the time, the game was tied at two. The New York Giants would win 5-2, however, their runs did not come until extra innings.

So if it was not for Mays’ herculean effort to get the ball back in quickly, Cleveland would have likely taken Game 1.

Nonetheless, the Giants would wind up with the sweep.

Outside of his defense throughout the series, Mays put up a .802 OPS in the four games.

The legendary outfielder was known for his five-tool abilities that made him one of the greatest to play the game. 

Mays used the same speed that allowed him to make “The Catch” to also rack up 338 stolen bases throughout his 23-year MLB career. That was paired with his raw power in which he totaled 660 home runs.

The two-time MVP has been in recent news with the New York Mets’ announcement to retire his No. 24.

Mays only played two seasons with the Mets, but the organization is fulfilling a promise made by former owner Joan Payson when he was traded to the club in 1972.

Now the Hall of Famer is represented in New York, where he spent the first six seasons of his career before the Giants moved to San Francisco.

When fans at Citi Field look up to see Mays’ number, they can reminisce about all he brought to the city of New York, including his efforts in the 1954 World Series.