[The excellent Jay Nordlinger of National Review saw fit to publish a note I sent him about Willie Mays. It’s about halfway down this piece here: https://www.nationalreview.com/corner/blowin-smoke/

My part reads as follows:

That 1971 season by Mays was remarkable. I distinctly remember being seven years old and eagerly checking the box scores to see how the Giants were doing and to marvel that, day after day, Mays seemed to be the key player.

Here’s an almost mind-boggling set of Mays stats:

In 1971, he was 40 years old. There was less offense than there is now. Mays had had a string of injuries. But he led the National League in on-base percentage. His on-base-plus-slugging was .907, fourth in the league, and it would be good enough for top ten even now. He almost single-handedly willed the Giants to the NL West championship, scoring 82 runs and stealing 23 bases (on bad legs!) while being caught stealing only three times. In the playoff series against the superior Pirates (eventual World Series winners that year), his OPS was a stunning .989.




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