Willie McCovey, baseball legend and Hall of Fame inductee, has passed away at the age of 80. The former San Francisco Giants player was part of the franchise for 21 years and he continued to follow the team after his retirement. McCovey passed away yesterday, Wednesday, October 31, 2018, at Stanford Hospital.
McCovey had been dealing with ongoing health issues and used a wheelchair for years. He battled a serious infection four years ago that nearly took his life. He had developed another infection recently, spending a week in a hospital.
However, he attended the Giants’ final home game this season but had to leave due to illness. Two police officers led him down an elevator and out of the stadium, where he was greeted by fans before going to the hospital.
Fellow Hall of Famer Joe Morgan was a close friend of Willie McCovey, and he revealed that he had been next to Willie in his final hours. He marked the time of death at 4 minutes past 4 in the afternoon.
Willie McCovey career highlights
Willie McCovey played his first game in 1959 with the San Francisco Giants and spent most of his career here, playing his last game in 1980. Willie had a long list of awards to his name, including Player of the Month in 1959, Rookie of the Year and Sporting News Rookie of the Year in that same year.
He also got All-Star Game Most Valuable Player, Most Valuable Player, and Player of the Year in 1969. He received the Hutch Award in 1977, and in 1986, he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
The Willie Mac Award, an award named after McCovey, is giving to a San Francisco Giants player, who best exemplifies the spirit and leadership consistently shown by McCovey himself throughout his career.
Willie McCovey had often watched the games from a suite at the AT&T stadium that the San Francisco Giants calls home. Willie was someone who always had a smile on his face, even though he continued to fight health issues behind closed doors.
McCovey’s exits from the ballpark were memorable for fans, as he would stop and talk to fans. He would give high-fives to his older fans, who would tell their children that he was their favorite player. His spirit was one that fans enjoyed, and he always took the time to greet fans, who came out to see the Giants play and showed him respect.
The Giants would take the World Series title in 2014, and Willie McCovey was there to see them play even though he had been in the hospital just a month before.
The internet is grieving the loss of Willie McCovey and fans are sharing their thoughts about the loss of the Giants legend.
— jnbeatlefan (@jnbeatlefan) November 1, 2018
— Luis (@LBuelnaUSMC) November 1, 2018
RIP to one of the greatest baseball players to ever grace the diamond. Mr. Willie McCovey. pic.twitter.com/d0ReNiby0A
— Alexandre' Dumas (@ddi31907) November 1, 2018
R.I.P. Willie McCovey. During his MLB career from 1959-1980, McCovey created 606 more runs (almost 29 more a season) than a league-average hitter would have created in the same PAs. That's 4th best during that span behind only Aaron (+832) F Robinson (+763) and Mays (+651).
— Tom Kirkendall (@bigtkirk) November 1, 2018
Willie McCovey’s wife and daughter have issued statements following his death. His wife Estela McCovey said, “Every moment he will be terribly missed. He was my best friend and husband. Living life without him will never be the same.”
His daughter Allison McCovey added, “I am grateful that my father passed peacefully surrounded by his family and friends while listening to his favorite sports channel.”
The baseball world is also mourning his death. While fans will miss the man who helped put the Giants on the map, his friends and members of the Giants family are also grieving.
“I love him so much. It’s a very sad day for me. We were very close,” Hall of Famer Orlando Cepeda said in a telephone interview with ABC News after learning about McCovey’s death. “Willie McCovey was not only a great ballplayer but a great teammate. He didn’t have any fear. He never complained.
“I remember one time in 1960 they sent him down to the minor leagues after being Rookie of the Year the year before. He didn’t complain. He was very polite, he was very quiet. He was a great man, a great friend. I’m going to miss him so much. He didn’t say a bad word about anybody.”
Willie McCovey passed away on Wednesday, October 31, 2018.