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Wednesday, November 19, 2003
Mays, Robinson join 500 homer club
By Larry Schwartz
Special to

Sept. 13, 1965/1971

1965: In his 14th season, Willie Mays becomes just the fifth player to reach the exclusive 500-homers club. He belts a pitch from Astros right-hander Don Nottebart 440 feet into the center-field bleachers in the fourth inning in Houston. It's Mays' 47th homer of the season.

Warren Spahn, who gave up Mays' first homer, in 1951, is now his teammate on the San Francisco Giants and watches No. 500 in awe. "You're a wonder," he tells the 34-year-old Mays.

After San Francisco's 5-1 victory, only eight writers surround Mays for an interview.

1971: Exactly six years to the day later, Frank Robinson joins the 500 club. The Baltimore Orioles right-fielder opens and closes a doubleheader split with homers against the Detroit Tigers.

Robinson's 499th is a three-run drive in the first inning of a 9-1 victory. In his final at-bat, Robinson hits a two-run shot off Fred Scherman with two outs in the ninth inning of a 10-5 loss in the nightcap. It travels three rows deep, about 320 feet, into the left-field stands in Baltimore.

In his 16th season, the 36-year-old Robinson is the 11th player to reach 500 homers.

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