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Willie McCovey (1938 – 2018), Hall of Fame San Francisco Giants Slugger

by Kirk Fox

Six-time All-Star hit over 500 home runs.

San Francisco Giants legend Willie McCovey cracked more than 500 home runs in his Hall of Fame career. McCovey, nicknamed “Stretch,” was a Giant for 19 of his 22 seasons in the league and was one of the most beloved players in San Francisco. He led the MLB in home runs in 1963, 1968, and 1969. He played for the Padres and the A’s from 1974 until 1976 and returned to the Giants in 1977, retiring in 1980.

In 1977, at the age of 39, he hit 28 home runs and was awarded Comeback Player of the Year. He is one of only a handful of players who have hit home runs in four different decades.


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Died: Wednesday, October 31, 2018 (Who else died on October 31?)

Details of death: Died after a battle with ongoing health issues at the age of 80

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Career Accomplishments:

First ballot Hall of Famer (1986)

National League Most Valuable Player (1969)

National League Rookie of the Year (1959)

Three-time Home Run Leader (1963, 1968, 1969)

Six-time All-Star (1963, 1966, 1968–1971)

Notable quote: McCovey never won a World Series. His line drive was caught by New York Yankees second baseman Bobby Richardson for the final out in Game 7 of the only World Series he played in. In a 2017 interview with the Wall Street Journal he was asked how he’d like to be remembered. 

“I’d like to be remembered as the guy who hit the ball over Bobby Richardson’s head in the seventh game,” he responded.

What people said about him: “You knew right away he wasn’t an ordinary ballplayer. He was so strong, and he had the gift of knowing the strike zone. There’s no telling how many home runs he would have hit if those knees weren’t bothering him all the time and if he played in a park other than Candlestick.” —Hank Aaron, legendary home run hitter

“He used to scare me the most when I was playing first base. I was just praying he wouldn’t hit one down the line. He was one of the most awesome players I’ve ever seen.” —Hall of Famer Joe Torre

Full obituary: San Francisco Chronicle

Related lives:

MLB Memorial Site

Matty Alou (1938 – 2011), Giants outfielder was a 2-time All-Star

Bobby Bonds (1946 – 2003), Slugger played his first six seasons for the Giants

Monte Irvin (1919 – 2916), Hall of Famer played for the New York Giants

Bobby Thompson, (1923 – 2010), hit the “Shot heard round the world”

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