Published: Fri, November 02, 2018
Sport | By Kayla Schwartz

Willie McCovey, Hall of Fame slugger and Giants icon, dies at 80

Willie McCovey, Hall of Fame slugger and Giants icon, dies at 80

Baseball legend and longtime San Francisco Giants infielder Willie McCovey has died at the age of 80, the team said.

In a Twitter post, the Giants - with whom McCovey spent 19 of his 22 major league years - said the former first baseman and left fielder "passed away peacefully" on Wednesday afternoon. McCovey was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1986, his first year of eligibility. He had been getting around in a wheelchair in recent years because he could no longer rely on his once-dependable legs, yet was still regularly seen at the ballpark in his private suite. Along the way, McCovey tallied 521 home runs; 1,555 RBI; 1,229 runs; 2,211 hits; and 1,345 walks (260 of which were intentional). A few weeks later, I found a photograph of Bordley being among the first players to congratulate McCovey after he hit a two-out pinch-hit double off Bobby Castillo to score Rennie Stennett and give the Giants a 4-3 victory over the Dodgers before 50,229 fans at Candlestick.

"One honor that eluded McCovey was a World Series ring". McCovey smoked a line drive off the Yankees' Ralph Terry -only to watch helplessly as NY second baseman Bobby Richardson snagged it.

San Francisco Giants Willie McCovey (4) portrait from his 1964 season with the San Francisco Giants.

During a White Sox-Cubs series at Wrigley Field in 2012 that coincided with the NATO Chicago Summit, I met Bordley - who was vice president of security and event management for Major League Baseball. "You told me when that day comes - and it will one day - to keep the tradition of Giants baseball living forever".

"I still think about it all the time", McCovey said in October 2014, after the Giants had won their third World Series in five seasons.

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McCovey narrowly beat out pitcher Tom Seaver for the 1969 MVP. The SF Gate profile quotes him saying (about his relationship with Estela): "We got lots of plans to do, so I've got to get well..." He had spent the last 18 years in a senior advisory role for the Giants. He is one of only a handful of players who have hit home runs in four different decades.

"Every moment he will be terribly missed". 'He was my best friend and husband.

McCovey had a daughter, Allison, and three grandchildren, Raven, Philip, and Marissa.

McCovey is survived by his sister Frances and his brothers, Clauzell and Cleon. 'This is two in three years.

His legacy lives on in San Francisco in the form of the "Willie Mac" Award, given to the team's most inspirational player, and the watery landing zone for mammoth home runs behind the right field wall, McCovey Cove.

A public celebration of Willie's life will be announced at a later date.

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