The Giants issued a heavy-hearted statement Wednesday, announcing that Hall of Famer and franchise icon Willie McCovey has passed away peacefully at the age of 80 “after losing his battle with ongoing health issues.”
“San Francisco and the entire baseball community lost a true gentleman and legend, and our collective hearts are broken,” CEO Larry Baer said in a press release announcing the loss of one of baseball’s all-time greats. “Willie was a beloved figure throughout his playing days and in retirement. He will be deeply missed by the many people he touched. For more than six decades, he gave his heart and soul to the Giants – as one of the greatest players of all time, as a quiet leader in the clubhouse, as a mentor to the Giants who followed in his footsteps, as an inspiration to our Junior Giants, and as a fan cheering on the team from his booth. Willie’s greatest passion was his family and our thoughts and prayers are with his beloved wife, Estella, and his daughter, Allison, and her children Raven, Philip, and Marissa.”
A former National League Rookie of the Year, a National League MVP and a six-time All-Star, McCovey was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame after hitting .270/.374/.515 with 521 home runs, 353 doubles, 46 triples, 1229 runs scored and 1555 runs batted in. In addition to spending 19 seasons with the Giants, McCovey played three seasons with the Padres and also spent part of the 1976 season with the Athletics.
McCovey’s name has become synonymous not only with the San Francisco Giants — who retired his No. 44 and named right field’s “McCovey Cove” at AT&T Park in his honor — but with baseball greatness. Rest in peace, Stretch.