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 .255 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:
(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.
Content copyright 2017. Joe Angelini. All rights reserved.