Willie McCovey, the beloved San Francisco Giants icon who hit 521 home runs during his Hall of Fame career, died Wednesday at the age of 80. McCovey had been battling multiple health issues and he reportedly passed away peacefully at Stanford Hospital on Wednesday (October 31).
In a 22-year career, mostly with the Giants, between 1959 and 1980, McCovey hit 521 home runs - tied with Frank Thomas and Ted Williams for 20th all-time.
By the second half of the 1960s, McCovey had established himself as the NL's top power threat - leading the loop in home runs and RBIs in both 1968 and 1969.
McCovey was traded by the Giants to the San Diego Padres in 1973.
Famously, McCovey hit a screaming line drive that ended up in Yankees second baseman Bobby Richardson's glove to end Game 7 of the 1962 World Series - the closest the Giants would come to a title in the McCovey-Mays era. McCovey was the National League's home run leader three times and RBI king twice in his 22-season career.
"Every moment he will be terribly missed".
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San Francisco Giants Willie McCovey (4) portrait from his 1964 season with the San Francisco Giants. I'm going to miss him so much. "Living life without him will never be the same". McCovey smoked a line drive off the Yankees' Ralph Terry -only to watch helplessly as NY second baseman Bobby Richardson snagged it. He was grandfather to Allison's three children, Raven, Phillip, and Marissa; Giants President and Chief Executive Officer said "Willie's greatest passion was his family".
McCovey said that 2010, when the Giants won the franchise's first World Series since moving from NY in 1958, it helped eased the pain for players like him, Juan Marichal, Mays and Felipe Alou.
McCovey is survived by his sister Frances and his brothers, Clauzell and Cleon.
In many ways, McCovey was the Giants' first hero without a NY connection after the club moved to San Francisco in 1958.
McCovey presented the "Willie Mac Award" each season - except in 2014 while dealing with complications from the infection - an honor voted on by the players, coaches and training staff to recognize the team's player most exhibiting McCovey's inspirational example both on the field and in the clubhouse. In his early years playing for the Giants in San Francisco, fans would stand behind the bleachers in right field in hopes of catching one of McCovey's home run balls. He'll rightly be remembered as one of baseball's greatest hitters and most adored figures.
A public celebration of Willie's life will be announced at a later date.