Mickey Mantle vs Willie Mays

Mickey Mantle vs. Willie Mays

For the past 50 years in baseball when the subject of player comparisons came up, the Mantle-Mays debate was by far the most discussed.
Prior to the 1965 season (1951-1964) Mantle’s career numbers were H.R.- 454 Avg.- 309, O.B.%- 429, Slg.%- 582 compared to Mays, H.R.- 453 Avg.- 313, O.B.%- 388, Slg.% 589. The numbers at this point of their career were fairly even and both players have favorable home/away splits. When we compare their 15 hitting seasons head to head, Willie clearly wins by a 10 to 5 margin.
The ’56 season…..the Triple Crown, that one season, one of the greatest in baseball history,put Mickey Mantle in every discussion as one of the all-time greatest hitters in baseball history. When we focus in on their prime years, 1956 to 1961 as 24-30 year old players, Mickey was the better hitter in 5 of those 6 seasons. In the 1965 season, we begin the breakdown in Mickey’s career with a sub-par season of 19 H.R. 56 RBI’s and a .265 Avg. and we begin to see Willie create a distance in their career numbers with 52 H.R., 112 RBI’s to go along with a .317 Avg. Our results, when comparing these greats, career statistics- Willie Mays is clearly the better hitter, but at their best, in their prime years, the nod goes to Mickey Mantle.

Our Career Rank: Willie Mays # 10, Mickey Mantle # 17
The top 5 hitting seasons:

Mantle 1956 4.717 Points
Mantle 1957 4.654 Points
Mantle 1961 4.648 Points
Mays 1954 4.572 Points
Mays 1955 4.559 Points

(Please note the 1952 and 1953 seasons were omitted since Mays was in the military and the 1963 season when Mantle missed most of the season with a broken foot. Our yearly comparison is 15 of their 18 seasons.

Player Year Age Runs H.R. RBI’s Avg. OB% Slg% Points Edge
Mantle 1951 19 61 13 65 267 349 443 4.040
Mays 1951 20 59 20 68 274 356 472 4.098 Mays
Mantle 1954 22 129 27 102 300 408 525 4.347
Mays 1954 23 119 41 110 345 411 667 4.572 Mays
Mantle 1955 23 121 37 99 306 431 611 4.471
Mays 1955 24 123 51 127 319 400 659 4.559 Mays
Mantle 1956 24 132 52 130 353 464 705 4.717 Mantle
Mays 1956 25 101 36 84 296 369 557 4.308
Mantle 1957 25 121 34 94 365 512 665 4.654 Mantle
Mays 1957 26 112 35 97 333 407 626 4.474
Mantle 1958 26 127 42 97 304 443 592 4.476 Mantle
Mays 1958 27 121 29 96 347 419 583 4.453
Mantle 1959 27 104 31 75 285 390 514 4.259
Mays 1959 28 125 34 104 313 381 583 4.403 Mays
Mantle 1960 28 119 40 94 275 399 558 4.354 Mantle
Mays 1960 29 107 29 103 319 381 555 4.352
Mantle 1961 29 131 54 128 317 447 687 4.648 Mantle
Mays 1961 30 129 40 123 308 393 584 4.446
Mantle 1962 30 96 30 89 321 486 605 4.486
Mays 1962 31 130 49 141 304 384 615 4.501 Mays
Mantle 1964 32 92 35 111 303 423 591 4.419
Mays 1964 32 121 47 111 296 383 607 4.441 Mays
Mantle 1965 33 44 19 46 255 379 452 4.043
Mays 1965 34 118 52 112 317 398 645 4.523 Mays
Mantle 1966 34 40 23 56 288 389 538 4.186
Mays 1966 35 99 37 103 188 368 556 4.317 Mays
Mantle 1967 35 63 22 55 245 391 434 4.061
Mays 1967 36 83 22 70 263 334 453 4.076 Mays
Mantle 1968 36 57 18 54 237 385 398 3.996
Mays 1968 37 84 23 79 289 372 488 4.187 Mays

Back to Player Comparisons

.

Content copyright 2017. Joe Angelini. All rights reserved.