Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Willie McCovey Makes Major League Debut

On July 30, 1959, in his major league debut, San Francisco Giants first baseman Willie McCovey goes 4-for-4 against Hall of Famer Robin Roberts.

McCovey nicknamed "Mac", "Big Mac", and "Stretch", is a former Major League Baseball first baseman. He played nineteen seasons for the San Francisco Giants, and three more for the San Diego Padres and Oakland Athletics, between 1959 and 1980.
McCovey finished his career with a .270 batting average with 2,211 hits, which included 353 doubles, 46 triples, and 521 home runs. He also had 1,345 walks, 1,555 RBIs, 1,229 runs scored and 26 steals while striking out 1,550 times.
Three times McCovey led the league in home runs, where he won the National League Home Run Champion award, including back-to-back years in 1968-1969.
He also won the National League RBI Champion award in back-to-back years in 1968-1969.
McCovey was the 1969 National League MVP when he hit for his highest single season total of home runs, 45; his highest single season RBI total, 126; and hit for a .320 batting average, his highest single season total with more than 52 games played. McCovey was in the top 10 in MVP voting four times during his career, including three consecutive years from 1968-1970.
McCovey was a six-time All-Star, including four consecutive appearances from 1968-1971. In 1969 McCovey was also the MLB All-Star Game MVP.
In 1977 McCovey won the National League Comeback Player of the Year award in his first year back with the San Francisco Giants after three years with the San Diego Padres and Oakland Athletics.
He was also awarded the Hutch Award, which is given annually to an active Major League Baseball (MLB) player who "best exemplifies the fighting spirit and competitive desire" of Fred Hutchinson, by persevering through adversity. The award was created in 1965 in honor of Hutchinson, the former MLB pitcher and manager, who died of lung cancer the previous year.
The Hutch Award was created by Hutch's longtime friends Bob Prince, a broadcaster for the Pittsburgh Pirates and KDKA; Jim Enright, a Chicago sportswriter; and Ritter Collett, the sports editor of the Dayton Journal Herald.[3] They also created a scholarship fund for medical students engaged in cancer research to honor Hutchinson's memory.
McCovey is just one of 11 Hall of Fame members to be awarded the Hutch Award.
The San Francisco Giants have retired McCovey’s no. 44 jersey and present the Willie Mac Award annually to the player that best exemplifies the spirit and leadership shown by Willie McCovey throughout his career.
In 1986 McCovey was elected into Cooperstown MLB Hall of Fame with 81.4 percent of the vote on the first ballot in which he was on.
In September 2003, McCovey and a business partner opened McCovey's Restaurant, a baseball-themed sports bar and restaurant, located in Walnut Creek, California.