Willie Mays’ 50/50 Club


Last night, Baltimore slugger Chris Davis hit his 51sth home run of the season becoming the first 50-homer player since Jose Bautista hit 54 for the Blue Jays in 2010.  While this historic feat marks the 43rd time 50 home runs has been accomplished, it is the 25th time since 1995.  Most who follow baseball closely would be quick to point out that the increase of players to hit 50 beginning in the late 90's would be directly tied to the dark cloud over Major League Baseball, often referred to as "The Steroid Era."  Of course it is difficult to argue with this notion considering that, after the implementation of a strict drug policy by the league, home run numbers seem to have come back to a historical median.

So, is 50 the new 60, or is it the old 50?  Heading into the 1955 season, there were only six players to have ever eclipsed the 50 home run plateau.  Most notably Babe Ruth did so on four occasions. Howeve,r it was the "Say Hey Kid" who accomplished something no other player in history can claim.

On September 20, 1955, a 24-year old Willie Mays became the seventh player to hit 50. (It would be his seventh home run in six consecutive games.)  And while it was certainly impressive, the most remarkable feat came ten years later on September 25, 1965 when a 34-year old Mays again connected for his 50th of the year — representing the longest time span between 50-plus home run seasons for any player in Major League Baseball history.