Sporting a newly designed website, RMY Auctions kicked off its June online catalog auction Wednesday with more than 400 items up for bid including a rare, original Willie Mays minor league photo.
Mays opened the 1951 season with the Minneapolis Millers but in late May, got the call to join the New York Giants. After a rough start, Mays homered off Boston Braves’ star Warren Spahn on May 28 for the first of his 660 home runs.
Very few photographs of Mays in minor league uniform were ever taken (he only played in 35 games for the Millers) and auction officials say the 7×9 image is “quite simply the best we have ever seen in any form.”
The photo has editorial marks on the back and has a small crease in one corner but is otherwise in excellent condition.
Mays had been playing in the Negro Leagues just a few years earlier, but the arrival of Jackie Robinson in 1947 opened the door for scouts to seek new talent. The youngster from Alabama definitely had all five tools.
Joining the Giants’ AAA team for ’51, he hit .477 and flashed his considerable defensive skills. He was in a movie theater in Sioux City, IA that spring when a message flashed on the theater screen reading “Willie Mays, Call Your Hotel”. He never spent another day in the minors.
Auction bidding is underway through Saturday, June 18 at RMYAuctions.com.