As far as the record books are concerned, the 600 Home Run Club is reserved for a very select few. After all, hitting 600 home runs isn't something every player can do, as it requires having the type of career that allows you to stick around for a long time.
Willie Mays is one of those special talents who earned his way onto that exclusive list, and today he celebrates his 86th birthday. For much of his amazing 22-year career, Mays did things with a style and flair all his own:
By the time he called it a career in 1973, the Say Hey Kid rode off into the sunset the proud owner of 660 long balls and a spot in a club with only seven other members. It looks like this:
Barry Bonds (762)
Hank Aaron (755)
Babe Ruth (714)
Alex Rodriguez (696)
Ken Griffey Jr. (630)
Jim Thome (612)
Sammy Sosa (609)
Back on Sept. 22, 1969, Mays hit his 600th homer with a blast off Mike Corkins -- view that landmark moment atop this post, and let it remind you just how special a talent Mays was. He was just the second player to reach this historic plateau, behind only Babe Ruth.
So here's a symbolic cap-tip to Mays for an impeccable career, one so impressive that Vin Scully couldn't help but consider him "my favorite player."
Take a bow, Willie.
As a birthday tribute, watch a warm rendition of "Happy Birthday," sung to Mays by a capacity crowd of Giants fans -- and Metallica -- as part of his 85th birthday celebration last season: