May 25, 1951
Less than three weeks after his 20th birthday, Willie Mays makes his major league debut for the Giants, going 0-for-5 in New York’s 8-5 win over the Phillies.
Mays was called up after hitting an incredible .477/.524/.799 with eight homers and 30 RBI in 35 games for Minneapolis of the American Association.
The success didn’t immediately carry over, though. Mays went hitless in each game of the series in Philadelphia, opening his career 0-for-12. He homered off Warren Spahn in his fourth game, which was also his debut at the Polo Grounds. However, that was his only hit through seven games and he was hitting .038 (1-for-26) as of June 2.
Mays got a whole lot better from there, of course. He went on to win NL Rookie of the Year honors afer hitting .274/.356/.472 with 20 homers and 68 RBI in 121 games.
Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.
The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.
The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.