Baseball Hall of Famer and San Francisco Giants legend, Willie McCovery, dies at age 80.
The Giants announced his death on Wednesday afternoon, saying ” Hall of Famer Willie McCovey passed away peacefully this afternoon at the age of 80 after losing his battle with ongoing health issues.”
It is with great sadness that we announce that San Francisco Giants Legend and Hall of Famer Willie McCovey passed away peacefully this afternoon at the age of 80 after losing his battle with ongoing health issues. #Forever44 | #SFGiantspic.twitter.com/ooOYg4ESol
— SFGiants (@SFGiants) October 31, 2018
McCovey was just recently seen at AT&T Park for the Giants final regular season game of 2018 last month.
Nicknamed “Stretch” because of his 6-foot-4 frame, McCovey teamed with Willie Mays to create an all-time 1-2 punch in the Giants’ lineup for the 13 seasons the two played together.
McCovey retired in 1980 with the most home runs ever by a left-handed hitter in the National League, a mark that stood until 2001 when another Giants legend, Barry Bonds, broke it. He finished his career with 18 grand slams and led the league in home runs three times and RBIs twice. He was a six-time All-Star who finished his career with a .270 batting average, 521 home runs and 1,555 RBIs.
McCovey made his major league debut in 1959, going 4-for-4 in his first game. He hit .354, with 13 home runs and 38 RBIs in 52 games that season and was named Rookie of the Year.
Perhaps McCovey’s best season came 10 years later, when he won a MVP award. That year, he led the league in home runs (45), RBIs (126) and on-base percentage (.453).
McCovey’s legacy in San Francisco has reached unforeseen heights far after the completion of his career. Home runs hit over the right field wall at AT&T Park splash into the water of what has been deemed, McCovey Cove. As well as the “Willie Mac” Award, that is voted on by players, coaches and training staff, awarded by the Giants every year to recognize the team’s most inspirational player.