Willie McCovey is no longer with us. A true Giant and baseball immortal, Stretch’s legend went beyond baseball. By all accounts he was also a magnificent man, and that is far more important than being a great baseball player.
When People Magazine writes a story about your passing… well, let’s just say that you transcended baseball..
Stretch played before my time but I remember his physicality, his size and his awesome numbers. I managed to pick up a Willie McCovey baseball card in one of his last years and I still have it.
What makes McCovey’s place special in San Francisco Giants history is that he was our homegrown hero. He was arguably the first superstar to be drafted and developed while the Giants were in San Francisco whereas Willie Mays was the New York Giants import. McCovey’s place was unique in Giants history for so many reasons, not least of which was that legendary 1962 World Series….
From Andrew Baggarly’s piece in The Athletic (link below):
“McCovey wasn’t the greatest player on his team — he batted behind Mays, after all — and he wasn’t even the greatest player to come from his hometown of Mobile, Alabama. He and Hank Aaron both wore No. 44. There were so many things McCovey could complain about, so many reasons he could allow his ego to be bruised. Some hitter had to have the misfortune of playing the most games in Candlestick Park history, and it was McCovey (1,086). He hit more homers there than anyone else, too (236).”
Here are some of the obituaries and fond recollections around the world for one of the greatest Giants of all time:
Honoring Stretch on Social Media
— MLB Network (@MLBNetwork) November 1, 2018
— Baseball by BSmile (@BSmile) November 1, 2018
From Barry Bonds
I HEAR YOU.
Mac, I am crying over losing you even when you told me not to. I remember asking you what I would do without all of you around. You told me when that day comes – and it will one day – to keep the tradition of Giants baseball living forever.
— Barry L Bonds (@BarryBonds) November 1, 2018
From the Giants
“San Francisco and the entire baseball community lost a true gentleman and legend, and our collective hearts are broken.” –Giants President & Chief Executive Officer Laurence M. Baer
— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) November 1, 2018
It is with great sadness that we announce that San Francisco Giants Legend and Hall of Famer Willie McCovey passed away peacefully this afternoon at the age of 80 after losing his battle with ongoing health issues. #Forever44 | #SFGiants pic.twitter.com/ooOYg4ESol
— San Francisco Giants (@SFGiants) October 31, 2018
“Here’s to the long and transcendent life of number 44, Stretch.”
1938 – 2018 pic.twitter.com/xpdbq5veDL
— KNBR (@KNBR) November 1, 2018
From Orlando Cepeda
— Orlando Cepeda (@OrlandoCepeda30) November 1, 2018