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.
Pirates outfielder Starling Marte was hit on the hand by a Jack Flaherty pitch in the fourth inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Cardinals. Rather than take first base, Marte — who came to the plate with a runner on first base — insisted to home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman that the ball hit the knob of the bat, not his hand. Marte was allowed to continue his at-bat, though manager Clint Hurdle came out to discuss the ruling with Dreckman. Marte eventually grounded into a fielder’s choice. He then got caught attempting to steal second base and the Pirates scored zero runs in the inning.
According to Baseball Prospectus, a team that has runners on first and second with no outs is expected to score 1.55 runs. Having a runner on first base with one out yields 0.56 expected runs. Marte essentially cost his team a run by rejecting first base. Oops.