You’ve probably seen the video, oh maybe 100 times, and you’ve probably seen this well-known photo of one of the greatest defensive plays in World Series history. Now, a slightly different, closer image of Willie Mays’ famous catch in the 1954 World Series has come to light.
The RMY Auctions Photo of the Day is a New York Daily News image of Mays, back to the camera as he hauls in the deep drive from Vic Wertz of Cleveland on September 29, 1954. The 8×10 photo is stamped on the back with a hand-written notation from photo editors in pencil. It shows Mays, just as the ball settles into his outstretched glove.
Mays’ New York Giants were in a bit of a jam in the top of the eighth inning in Game 1 of the Series. The score was 2-2 but Cleveland had runners on first and second. Manager Leo Durocher brought in lefty Don Liddle to face Vic Wertz, who took a 2-1 pitch deep to center at the Polo Grounds. In many other ballparks, it would have resulted in a three-run homer but the cavernous outfield at the New York ballpark allowed the speedy Mays to make a running, over the shoulder catch at the warning track.
Marv Grissom relieved Liddle and got the inning-ending strikeout.
The game went to extra innings and the Giants won, then captured the next three to sweep the series.
The photo is one of 1,000 in RMY’s April Premier Auction, slated to close Saturday night at RMYAuctions.com.