Willie McCovey Autographed Baseball with COA from B & J Collectibles and dated June 17, 1997. This ball is in mint condition encased in shrink wrap right after signing and the COA is dated June 17, 1997. This ball comes in an acrylic display case.
Willie Lee McCovey (born January 10, 1938 in Mobile, Alabama), nicknamed "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. He batted and threw left-handed and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1986.
In his Major League debut on July 30, 1959, McCovey went four-for-four against Hall-of-Famer Robin Roberts en route to a .354 batting average that year, in which he won National League Rookie of the Year honors while playing in just 52 games.
Three years later, he helped the Giants to the 1962 World Series against the New York Yankees. Perhaps McCovey's best-known moment in baseball came in the bottom of the 9th of Game 7, with 2 outs and the Giants trailing 1–0. With Willie Mays on second base and Matty Alou on third, any base hit would likely have won the championship for the Giants. McCovey scorched a hard line drive that was snared by the Yankees' second baseman Bobby Richardson, ending the series with a Yankees' win. That would turn out to be the closest McCovey would get to playing on a world championship team.
McCovey spent many years at the heart of the Giants' batting order along with fellow Hall-of-Famer Willie Mays. His best year statistically was 1969 when he hit 45 home runs, had 126 RBI and batted .320 to become the National League MVP.
In the early years of Candlestick Park, the Giants home stadium, the area behind right field was open except for three small bleacher sections. When McCovey came to bat, typically those bleachers would empty as the fans positioned themselves on the flat ground hoping to catch a McCovey home run ball – anticipating the gathering of boats in McCovey Cove, a generation later, when Barry Bonds would bat.
McCovey returned to the Giants in 1977. That year, during a June 27 game against the Cincinnati Reds, he became the first player to hit two home runs in one inning twice in his career (the first was on April 12, 1973). One was a grand slam and he became the first National Leaguer to hit seventeen. At age 39, he had 28 home runs and 86 RBI and was named the Comeback Player of the Year. On June 30, 1978, at Atlanta's Fulton County Stadium, McCovey hit his 500th home run, and two years later, on May 3 at Montreal's Olympic Stadium, his 521st and last home run, off Scott Sanderson of the Montreal Expos. This home run gave McCovey the distinction, along with Ted Williams (with whom he was tied in home runs) and Rickey Henderson of homering in four different decades.
McCovey was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1986. It was his first year of eligibility and he appeared on 346 of 425 ballots cast (81.4 percent). In 1999, he ranked 56th on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and was nominated as a finalist for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. Since 1980, the Giants have awarded the Willie Mac Award to honor his spirit and leadership. The inlet of San Francisco Bay beyond the right field fence of AT&T Park, historically known as China Basin, has been redubbed McCovey Cove in his honor. The Giants retired his uniform number 44, which he wore in honor of Hank Aaron, a fellow Mobile, Alabama native.
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