1979 Induction Ceremony

Willie Mays, elected by the BBWAA, and Hack Wilson and former National League President Warren Giles, posthumously selected by the Veterans Committee, were inducted into the Hall of Fame on August 5, 1979. The J.G. Taylor Spink Award for meritorious contributions to baseball writing was shared by New York columnist Dick Young and Tim Murnane, former baseball editor of the Boston Globe. Chicago sportscaster Bob Elson received the Ford C. Frick Award for broadcast excellence.

Willie Mays was the only BBWAA inductee on August 5, 1979. (National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)WILLIE MAYS: A first ballot Hall of Famer, Mays was named on 94.7 percent of ballots cast. He played 22 seasons, all but the last two and a half spent with the New York-San Francisco Giants, and won 12 Gold Glove Awards and was named to 24 All-Star teams. The 1951 National League Rookie of the Year, Mays hit .274 with 20 home runs and 68 RBI as the Giants won the NL pennant. He won two MVP Awards and hit more than 40 home runs six times, leading the league four times. The Giants won the 1954 World Series behind Mays’ 41 home runs and 110 RBI. Mays was traded to the New York Mets in 1972 and retired a year and a half later with a .302 batting average, 660 home runs, 1,903 RBI and 3,283 hits.

WARREN GILES: When Warren Giles was elected president of the Moline (Illinois) club in the Three-I League in 1919, he began a 50-year career in baseball that saw him ascend all the way to the presidency of the National League. Giles, elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee, also ran the Cincinnati Reds from 1937 to 1951, a tenure that included pennants in 1939 and 1940. During his 18-year reign as chief of the National League, he presided over several historic events, including the birth of expansion baseball, several franchise moves, and the construction of numerous new stadiums.

HACK WILSON: A selection of the Veterans Committee, Wilson played 12 major league seasons with the New York Giants, Chicago Cubs, Brooklyn Dodgers and Philadelphia Phillies. While with Chicago, Wilson put together a six-year stretch in which he averaged 31 home runs, 128 RBI and a .322 batting average. His 1930 season is still one of the most impressive offensive years in baseball, when he hit .356 with 56 home runs and 191 RBI, still the major league record. Wilson won a National League pennant twice, with the Giants in 1924 and with the Cubs in 1929, but lost in the World Series each season. He retired with a .307 batting average, 244 home runs and 1,063 runs batted in.