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The Giants apologized to the people of Minneapolis when Willie Mays made his MLB debut in 1951

Giants apologized for calling up Willie Mays

On May 25, 1951, a young man by the name of Willie Howard Mays made his MLB debut for the New York Giants. It was less than three weeks after Mays' 20th birthday, and he marked the occasion by going 0-for-5 at the dish. 

And while the Giants, New York City and baseball fans across America had a lot to look forward to as Mays became an everyday player and perennial All-Star, the state of Minnesota was not so pleased at the time.

See, Mays started the '51 season playing for the Minneapolis Millers, a Minor League affiliate of the Giants. In 35 games for the Millers that season, Mays hit .477/.524/.799 with eight home runs and 18 doubles.

The Millers were on the road when the Giants called Mays up. Naturally, he was at the movies (as was his ritual when on the road) when the Giants came calling. A message flashed on the screen that said, "Willie Mays Go To Lobby."

Mays boarded a flight from Omaha, Neb., to New York City and did so with his Major League style on full display:


Two days after his 0-for-5 debut, Giants president Horace Stoneham issued a formal apology to the people of Minneapolis for robbing them of the pleasure of watching Mays practice his trade that summer.


The day after that ad ran in The Minneapolis Morning Tribune, Mays notched his first MLB hit: A home run off Hall of Famer Warren Spahn. Mays would go on to hit 659 more home runs. He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979.

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