I’ve looked up the beginning professional careers of Willie Mays and Mickey Mantle, as reported by the New York Times in 1950 and 1951. It seems Mantle was more highly touted; the paper talked about him more before he came up than it did Mays. I looked at Mantle recently; as for Mays, on June 22, 1950, the Times reported that “the Giants yesterday announced they have signed Willie Mays, Negro outfielder from Fairfield, Ala., to a Minneapolis contract and have farmed him to their Trenton club.”
Mays starred there and in Minneapolis. Here is the Times reporting on his call-up to the Giants on May 25, 1951:
And the Times describing his 0 for 5 that night, in Shibe Park in Philadelphia, an 8-5 win over the Phillies:
On May 28, 1951, in New York, the Times reported:
“After Mays, who had gone 12 for 0 in Philadelphia, where he made his debut for the Giants, hoisted a towering poke that landed atop the left-field roof with the bases empty in the first inning, the Giants were powerless to budge Spahn (who won the game at the Polo Grounds for the Boston Braves, 4-1, in a night game with 23,101 fans attending).
“The free-swinging 20-year-old outfielder, called up from Minneapolis to lend needed punch to the Giant attack, also popped up for the final out with a man on base.”
Here’s a picture of Mays in ’51: