Giants Hall of Famer Willie McCovey dies at age 80

Giants Hall of Famer Willie McCovey dies at age 80

Willie McCovey, the gentle Giant who terrorized National League pitchers for parts of four decades over a 22-year career, passed away on Wednesday at the age of 80.

In a Twitter post, the Giants - with whom McCovey spent 19 of his 22 major league years - said the former first baseman and left fielder "passed away peacefully" on Wednesday afternoon.

The next year, McCovey won the first of three NL home run titles by belting 44 long balls - a season that also earned him his first of six All-Star Game selections.

Ten years later in 1969, McCovey was the NL's Most Valuable Player, after leading the league with 45 home runs, 126 RBIs and an on-base percentage of.453.

McCovey was traded by the Giants to the San Diego Padres in 1973.

Born in Mobile, Alabama, McCovey went on to be a three-time National League home run leader and twice led the league in RBI. McCovey doesn't lack for a legacy in San Francisco, or in baseball as a whole. The SF Gate profile quotes him saying (about his relationship with Estela): "We got lots of plans to do, so I've got to get well..."

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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". "I was just praying he wouldn't hit one down the line". 'He was my best friend and husband.

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. "Living life without him will never be the same". "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". McCovey also is survived by sister Frances and brothers Clauzell and Cleon.

In many ways, McCovey was the Giants' first hero without a NY connection after the club moved to San Francisco in 1958. Quickly, fans of "Willie Mac" and the baseball community tweeted their sadness over the news, and sympathies for McCovey's family.

McCovey presented the "Willie Mac Award" each season - except in 2014 while dealing with complications from the infection - an honor voted on by the players, coaches and training staff to recognize the team's player most exhibiting McCovey's inspirational example both on the field and in the clubhouse.

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

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