1953 Topps #244 Willie Mays Short-Print PSA 8 NM-MT
ARGUABLY ONE OF THE NICEST 8s!!! Along with the 1951 Bowman Willie Mays rookie and his iconic 1952 Topps subject, arguably the next highly ranked "Say Hey Kid" cardboard issue is his legendary 1953 Topps #244 short-print subject, presented here in a spectacular PSA 8 NM-MT holder. Of the 2,200+ PSA encapsulated copies, a mere five examples (0.2%) have managed to surpass the seldom surfacing "8" assessment! Willie Mays will forever reside on every historian's list as one of the premier all-time players, with his 660-lifetime round-trippers, .301 batting average, 1909 R.B.I.s, two MVP Awards, and unfathomable 24 All-Star nominations paving the way. His batting, fielding and running exploits set the benchmark for the "five-tool" player concept, and at the time this was written, he still held the distinguished title as baseball's greatest living ballplayer.
The flashes of brilliance Mays depicted in his 1951 rookie campaign excited a myriad of the "Big Apple" fan base. Swatting 20 round-trippers, portraying gazelle-like base running skills and catching virtually everything hit his way, Mays would capture the "Rookie of the Year" Award, with Giants' fans anxiously awaited his 1952 season. Unfortunately, due to the Korean War, Mays was drafted after playing in only 34 games, and he would not see action again until the 1954 season when he would lead the Senior Circuit with his robust .345 batting average while spearheading the Giants to a World Series victory over the Cleveland Indians. It would be that famous Fall Classic that Mays would make one of the greatest catches in World Series history. In the eighth inning of game one, he snared Vic Wertz's mammoth blast in the deepest confines of the Polo Grounds in "over the shoulder" fashion to preserve a tie game, with the Giants eventually winning in extra innings. Based on Mays popularity and stellar rookie campaign, Topps had already issued his 1953 #244 subject before he left for Korea in the spring of 1953, with this Mays issue continuing to reside as one of his most exalted cardboard gems.
The "Say Hey Kid" never looked better than in this sparkling pose that literally looks as if Willie is showcasing his immortal "basket-catch." Atypical near-perfect "side-to-side" centering is only partly offset by the image slightly favoring the lower edge. A crisp obverse side is highlighted by vibrant hues, bright white borders, and impeccable clarity for Mays' timeless illustration. The classic baseball "green grass - blue sky" background perfectly complements Mays as he dons his New York road flannels. The final exclamation points are the two relatively clean surfaces that prompt the notion this card was recently pulled from a 1953 Topps wax pack. Scarce for the grade, rarely does this Mays issue surface with the hallowed PSA 8 assessment, and we can truly state that an abundance of sophisticated enthusiasts are already preparing to wage battle for its final ownership!
MIN BID $10,000