SAN FRANCISCO (AP/WKRG) – Willie McCovey, the sweet-swinging Hall of Famer nicknamed “Stretch” for his 6-foot-4 height and those long arms, has died. He was 80.
He is a Mobile native and is one of five Mobilians in the Baseball Hall of Fame.
The San Francisco Giants announced his death, saying the fearsome hitter passed “peacefully” Wednesday afternoon “after losing his battle with ongoing health issues.”
He had attended games at AT&T Park as recently as the final game of the season.
Even four-plus decades later, it still stung for the left-handed slugging McCovey that he never won a World Series after coming so close. He lined out to end the Giants’ 1962 World Series loss to the Yankees.
McCovey had been getting around in a wheelchair in recent years because he could no longer rely on his once-dependable legs, yet was still regularly seen at the ballpark in his private suite.
The Giants President & Chief Executive Officer Laurence M. Baer released a statement expressing the teams’ sadness on the loss of the Hall of Famer.
“San Francisco and the entire baseball community lost a true gentleman and legend, and our collective hearts are broken. 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.”