Willie McCovey Biography
Willie McCovey was an American Major League Baseball first baseman. Known as “Strech” during his playing days, and later likewise nicknamed “Macintosh” and “Willie Mac,” he is best referred to for his long residency as one of the game’s most prominent stars with the San Francisco Giants.
Over a 22-year profession somewhere in the range of 1959 and 1980 he played 19 seasons with the Giants and three more for the San Diego Padres and Oakland Athletics. A fearsome left-gave hitter, he was a six-time All-Star, three-time grand slam champion, MVP, and was accepted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1986 in his first year of qualification, just the sixteenth man so regarded.
McCovey was known as a dead-pull line-drive hitter, making a few groups utilize a move against him. Seventh on baseball’s unequaled grand slam list when he resigned, McCovey was designated “the scariest hitter in baseball” by pitcher Bob Gibson, backed by also dreaded slugger Reggie Jackson. McCovey lashed 521 homers, 231 propelled in Candlestick Park, the most thereby any player. One on September 16, 1966, was depicted as the longest at any point hit in that arena.
Willie McCovey Wife
McCovey’s first marriage was to Karen McCovey, which resulted in a daughter. On August 1, 2018, he wedded long-term sweetheart Estela Bejar at AT&T Park.
Willie McCovey Death / Age
In his later years, McCovey dealt with several health issues, including atrial fibrillation and an infection in 2015 that nearly killed him. After his career ended he endured several knee surgeries, which left him in a wheelchair, and he was hospitalized several times.
McCovey died at the age of 80 at Stanford University Medical Center on October 31, 2018 after battling “ongoing health issues”. He had been hospitalized for an infection late the previous week. His longtime friend and fellow Hall-of-Famer Joe Morgan was at his bedside. A public memorial service for McCovey was held at AT&T Park on November 8, 2018.
Willie McCovey Height
During his career, he was 6 feet 4 Inches. Hence his nickname “stretch” due to his height and the remarkably long arms.
Willie McCovey Net Worth
Willie Had a Net Worth of about $3 million dollars at the time of his passing
Willie McCovey Major League Baseball
San Francisco Giants (1959–73)
In his Major League debut on July 30, 1959, McCovey went four-for-four against Hall-of-Famer Robin Roberts of the Philadelphia Phillies with two singles and two triples. In 52 major league games, he had a .354 batting average and 13 home runs. He was named the National League’s (NL) Rookie of the Year. He won the NL Player of the Month Award in August, his first full month in the majors (.373, 8 HR, 22 RBI). He had a 22-game hitting streak, setting the mark for San Francisco Giants rookies, four short of the all-time team record.
Three years later, McCovey helped the Giants to the 1962 World Series against the New York Yankees, the only World Series appearance of his career. In the bottom of the ninth inning of Game 7, with two outs and the Giants trailing 1–0, Willie Mays was on second base and Matty Alou was on third base. Any base hit would likely have won the championship for the Giants. McCovey hit a hard line drive that was snared by the Yankees’ second baseman Bobby Richardson, ending the series with a Yankees’ win.
The moment was immortalized in two Peanuts comic strips by Charles M. Schulz. The first ran on December 22, 1962, with Charlie Brown sitting silently alongside Linus for three panels before suddenly lamenting, “Why couldn’t McCovey have hit the ball just three feet higher?” The second, from January 28, 1963, featured Charlie Brown breaking an identical extended silence by crying, “Or why couldn’t McCovey have hit the ball even two feet higher?” 26 years later, on the occasion of his Hall of Fame election, McCovey was asked how he would like his career to be remembered. “As the guy who hit the ball over Bobby Richardson’s head in the seventh game,” replied McCovey.
McCovey spent many years at the heart of the Giants’ batting order, along with fellow Hall-of-Famer Willie Mays. His best year statistically was 1969, when he hit 45 home runs, had 126 RBI and batted .320 to become the National League MVP. He won NL Player of the Month awards in July 1963 (.310, 13 HR, 27 RBI) and August 1969 (.315, 8 HR, 22 RBI). In 1963 he and Hank Aaron tied for the NL lead with 44 home runs.
In the early years of Candlestick Park, the Giants home stadium, the area behind right field was open except for three small bleacher sections. When McCovey came to bat, typically those bleachers would empty as the fans positioned themselves on the flat ground, hoping to catch a McCovey home run ball.
San Diego Padres and Oakland Athletics (1974–76)
Willie McCovey attempts to tag Cincinnati Reds’ shortstop Dave Concepción out at first base in McCovey’s last game at Candlestick Park
On October 23, 1973, the Giants traded McCovey and Bernie Williams to the San Diego Padres for Mike Caldwell. The Giants had been trading their higher-priced players and gave McCovey input into his destination. McCovey played in 128 games in 1974 and 122 games in 1975. He hit 22 home runs in 1974 and 23 in 1975.
In 1976, McCovey struggled and lost the starting first base job to Mike Ivie. He batted .203 with seven home runs in 71 games. Near the end of the season, the Oakland Athletics purchased his contract from the Padres. He played in eleven games for them.
San Francisco (1977–80)
McCovey returned to the Giants in 1977 without a guaranteed contract, but he earned a position on the team. With Hank Aaron and Frank Robinson having retired at the end of the 1976 season with 755 and 586 home runs respectively, McCovey began 1977 as the active home run leader with 465. That year, during a June 27 game against the Cincinnati Reds, he became the first player to hit two home runs in one inning twice in his career (the first was on April 12, 1973), a feat since accomplished by Andre Dawson, Jeff King, Alex Rodriguez, and Edwin Encarnacion. One was a grand slam and he became the first National Leaguer to hit seventeen. At age 39, he had 28 home runs and 86 RBIs and was named the Comeback Player of the Year.
On June 30, 1978, at Atlanta’s Fulton County Stadium, McCovey hit his 500th home run, and two years later, on May 3, 1980, at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium, McCovey hit his 521st and last home run, off Scott Sanderson of the Montreal Expos. This home run gave McCovey the distinction, along with Ted Williams (with whom he was tied in home runs), Rickey Henderson, and Omar Vizquel of homering in four different decades: the 1950s, ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s. McCovey is one of only 29 players in baseball history to date to have appeared in Major League baseball games in four decades.
In his 22-year career, McCovey batted .270, with 521 home runs and 1,555 RBIs, 1,229 runs scored, 2,211 hits, 353 doubles, 46 triples, a .374 on-base percentage and a .515 slugging percentage. He also hit 18 grand slam home runs in his career, a National League record, and was a six-time All-Star.
Willie McCovey Legacy
McCovey’s number 44 was retired by the San Francisco Giants in 1980.
McCovey Cove and the arcade at Oracle Park
McCovey was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1986 in his first year of eligibility, making him the 16th player to so honored. He appeared on 346 of 425 ballots cast (81.4 percent)
McCovey is best remembered for the ferocity of his line drive batting style. In his book Ball Four, pitcher Jim Bouton wrote about watching the slugger blast the ball in batting practice, while making “small crying creature sounds” in response to each of McCovey’s raw power drives. Reds manager Sparky Anderson also had a healthy respect for the damage McCovey could do, saying “I walked Willie McCovey so many times, he could have walked to the moon on all those walks.” McCovey’s bat was so lethal in his prime he was intentionally walked an all-time record 45 times in 1969, shattering the previous record by a dozen. This remained the major league mark for 33 years until broken by fellow Giant Barry Bonds. The following year McCovey was intentionally walked 40 times. Once, speaking to the pitcher before a McCovey at-bat, Mets inimitable manager Casey Stengel joked, “Where do you want to pitch him, upper deck or lower deck?”
In 1999, McCovey was ranked 56th on the Sporting News list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and was nominated as a finalist for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. Two years later, the sport’s most prominent sabermetric analyst, Bill James, ranked him 69th, and the 9th-best first baseman. Since 1980, the Giants have awarded the Willie Mac Award to honor his spirit and leadership.
The inlet of San Francisco Bay beyond the right field fence of Oracle Park, historically known as China Basin, has been re-dubbed McCovey Cove in his honor. A statue of McCovey was erected across McCovey Cove from the park, and the land on which it stands named McCovey Point. On September 21, 1980, the Giants retired his uniform number 44, which he wore in honor of Hank Aaron, a fellow Mobile, Alabama native.
McCovey was inducted to the Multi-Ethnic Sports Hall of Fame (formerly the Afro Sports Hall of Fame) in Oakland, California on February 7, 2009. The Willie McCovey field at Woodside Elementary School in Woodside, California was rededicated to him in 2013.
We endeavor to keep our content True, Accurate, Correct, Original and Up to Date.
If you believe that any information in this article is Incorrect, Incomplete, Plagiarised, violates your Copyright right or you want to propose an update, please send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org indicating the proposed changes and the content URL. Provide as much information as you can and we promise to take corrective measures to the best of our abilities.