1951 Bowman #305 Willie Mays Rookie Card (PSA 8) The 1951 Bowman Willie Mays irrefutably stands as his "true" rookie card and along with the 1952 Topps Mays, stands as the highlight of this remarkable "Say Hey Kid Collection"! Only three years removed from a dramatic World War, the Bowman Gum Company decided to release its inaugural 1948 set, including baseball cards with a single stick of bubble gum within their wax packs. Bowman continued producing sets through 1955, eventually being bought out by the Topps Baseball Gum Co., and it would be 34 years before Bowman released its next major baseball card set in 1989. The 1951 and 1952 issues hold a special place in the hearts of collectors since they include the 1st and 2nd year cards for two of baseball's immortal centerfielders, Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays. These two rookies stormed the baseball world in 1951, setting the groundwork to what would be an incredible joy ride in the New York Metropolitan area. Along with the Dodger's Duke Snider, it was unfathomable that any city could possibly reap the benefits of three immortal centerfielders during the same era. While Mantle's Goliath type power seemed to steal the show from the other two stars, Mays was unquestionably the better 5-tool player of the three, and is still considered by many as the greatest all-around player in baseball history. In prior years, one of the most under rated post WWII cards has always been the 1951 Bowman rookie card of the immortal "Say Hey Kid". In the past year, however, this concept has truly turned the corner for the 1951 Bowman Mays is beginning to realize surging price points, especially for high-grade specimens. As a worthy testament to his unbridled immortality, offered here is one of the finest 1951 Bowman Mays rookie cards extant, a "jaw-dropping" SGC 96 MINT specimen that stands alone as the single highest grade given by SGC. Synonymous with Willie Mays premier standing amongst baseball's greatest players ever, this extraordinary offering has outlasted virtually all of its peers, stubbornly defying "father time" by retaining its original factory issued attributes. There isn't a single baseball historian that omits the legendary Giants centerfielder on their top five all-time baseball player list. Mays could hit for average and power, run the bases, throw and play centerfield as well if not better than anyone who ever played the game. As Ty Cobb accomplished some 30+ years before him, Mays personified the phrase "5 tool player", and his legacy will forever be embellished in our National Pastime's history. Whether it was his amazing "over the shoulder" catch in the 1954 World Series in the deepest confines of the Polo Grounds, his 660 round trippers, his "cannon-like" arm or base running skills, Mays' legacy will outlast eternity, and we cannot imagine a finer testament to his unparalleled legacy than a high-grade Bowman rookie card. Virtually every quality of this "pack fresh" example is consistent with a "Mint 9" card including a brilliant lithographic image of Mays preparing to clout another one of his mammoth home runs. Pin point corners, a razor sharp perimeter, pristine surfaces, bold print and dazzling white borders all combine to raise the bar on its condition to a stratospheric level. Big card for the best of the best collections.