By Joshua Schnitman
On February 11, 1966, the San Francisco Giants made Willie Mays the highest-paid MLB player. May signed a then-record $130,000 per season contact under a two year pact. After retiring from the military, Mays had been one of the league’s most consummate professionals. In 13 seasons, he was batting over .300 in 10 of those 13 seasons, leading the league in home runs in four of those 13 seasons, leading the leading in stolen bases in four of those 13 seasons, having won two National League MVP awards, and one World Series in 1954 when the team was still in New York.
Mays is recognized as one of the greatest Major League Baseball players of all-time. He retired from playing in 1973 with a remarkable .302 lifetime batting average, having hit 660 career home runs (sixth on the all-time list), while having won 12 Gold Glove Awards throughout his career, the most ever at the center fielder position. Mays was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1979.