Hall of Famer Willie McCovey remembered for awesome power, hitting skill

Baseball Hall of Famer Willie McCovey dead at 80

Willie McCovey, San Francisco Giants slugger and Hall of Famer, dead at 80

The San Francisco Giants announced McCovey's death, saying the fearsome hitter passed "peacefully" in the afternoon 'after losing his battle with ongoing health issues'.

The San Francisco Chronicle reported that McCovey died at Stanford Hospital, and that he had been in a wheelchair for many years.

McCovey played 19 seasons with the Giants and was one of the franchise's most beloved players, who was memorialized with a statue outside of the ballpark.

Karl Ravech looks back at the life and Hall of Fame career of Willie McCovey, who hit 521 home runs in 22 Major League Baseball seasons. That year, he led the league in home runs (45), RBIs (126) and on-base percentage (.453).

The Giants never won a World Series during McCovey's career, but he helped bring them close in 1962 when the Giants lost the World Series in seven games to the Yankees. McCovey was the National League's home run leader three times and RBI king twice in his 22-season career.

In the press release, McCovey's wife Estela McCovey contributed: "Every moment he will be terribly missed". He famously teamed with fellow Hall of Famer Willie Mays for much of his career to form one of the most feared power duos in the National League. "I was just praying he wouldn't hit one down the line". "He was my best friend and husband".

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".

McCovey said that 2010, when the Giants won the franchise's first World Series championship 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. Before divorcing two years later, they had their daughter Allison, who, according to her LinkedIn profile, has been Chief Operating Officer of the San Francisco Pretrial Diversion Project, Inc. since March 2011.

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.

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. Yet, as beloved as McCovey may be, his greatness as a hitter may actually be underappreciated.

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

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