Sport

Giants Hall of Famer Willie McCovey dies at 80

Giants Hall of Famer Willie McCovey dies at 80”

Giants great Willie McCovey died Wednesday after dealing with ongoing health issues. The 80-year-old was still an avid supporter of San Francisco and could often be spotted in the stands cheering on his beloved Giants.

'It was touch and go for a while, ' McCovey said at the time.

The Giants paid tribute to McCovey on Wednesday afternoon by flying the flags at AT&T Park at half-staff.

Though most of their trips out of the house were so he could watch the Giants' home games as their senior advisor, their relationship was characterized by "love and laughter".

"San Francisco and the entire baseball community lost a true gentleman and legend, and our collective hearts are broken", Baer said.

McCovey made his major league debut at age 21 on July 30, 1959, and played alongside the other Willie - Hall of Famer Willie Mays - into the 1972 season before Mays was traded to the New York Mets that May. "He will be deeply missed by the many people he touched".

The Giants said a public celebration of McCovey's life would be held at a later date.

McCovey spent 19 of his 22 major league years with the Giants.

"You knew right away he wasn't an ordinary ballplayer", Hall of Famer Hank Aaron said, courtesy of the Hall of Fame. "He was so strong, and he had the gift of knowing the strike zone".

He hit more home runs at Candlestick Park (231) than any other player.

Three years later, McCovey came as close as he ever would to winning a championship. Although he never won a World Series, McCovey did help the Giants to an NL pennant in 1962, and another playoff appearance in 1971. About her father, Allison said: "I am grateful that my father passed peacefully surrounded by his family and friends while listening to his favorite sports channel".

Two months later, "Peanuts" cartoonist and Northern California resident Charles Schulz put the words of millions of Giants fans and Yankee haters into the mouth of his most beloved creation.

During his playing career, McCovey was the 1959 National League Rookie of the Year, 1969 National League MVP, and 1977 National League Comeback Player of the Year, as well as a six-time All Star. McCovey also drove in 1,555 runs and boasted a career.270 batting average.

Nicknamed "Stretch" because of his 6-foot-4 frame, McCovey teamed with Willie Mays to create a formidable 1-2 punch in the Giants' lineup for the 13 seasons the two played together. Home runs hit over the right field wall at AT&T Park splash into the water of McCovey Cove, and the "Willie Mac" Award, voted on by players, coaches and training staff, is awarded by the Giants every year to recognize the team's most inspirational player.



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