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Willie McCovey dies at age 80

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Offline  Willie McCovey dies at age 80
#1

Posted: November 01, 2018, 8:14 AM Post
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People have probably seen this on the news, and while McCovey has no ties to the Brewers, here's a nod to the Hall of Famer, who died yesterday at the age of 80.

For those who don't remember McCovey - the man was a beast at the plate. In his prime, he was one of the best sluggers in the game. Over and eight-year period, he averaged 36 HRs a year (and that included a year he struggled with an injury and only hit 18 HR). He led the league in HRs three times, RBIs twice, and OPS three times. He won the NL MVP in 1969. He was so feared, he lead the league in intentional walks four different times - including one year where he was given 45 intentional free passes.

http://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/2513 ... nd-dies-80

https://www.baseball-reference.com/play ... wi01.shtml


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Online  Re: Willie McCovey dies at age 80
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Posted: November 01, 2018, 11:27 AM Post
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Never saw him play, and he was out of baseball by the time I was old enough to follow the sport, but I do remember that 1969 season and that 209 OPS+ that he posted, which is tied for 30th on the all-time list. My friend and I played APBA Baseball for Windows almost every weekend in the late 90's, and we'd draft teams from a pool of each franchise's great single-season players, and that 1969 McCovey season always showed up near the top of the list for first basemen.


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Offline  Re: Willie McCovey dies at age 80
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Posted: November 02, 2018, 7:37 AM Post
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I did see him play in person, once, well actually twice in 1965, the last year the Braves were in Milwaukee. Thanks to the magic of Baseball Reference, I found the date was August 1, 1965, in a Sunday doubleheader that the Braves swept behind stellar pitching from another recently departed player, Tony Cloninger and a young lefty the Braves had then Wade Blasingame. At the time my hope that the Braves could somehow win a pennant in the lame duck season in Milwaukee and shame baseball big time. There was a crowd of nearly 15,000 that day, one of the bigger crowds of that season and we all felt the same way. I was 12 going on 13. That was the last Milwaukee Braves game I saw in person. McCovey took an Ofer for the doubleheader, but my lasting memory of that day was the crowd in unison loudly booing the southerner manager of the Braves Bobby Bragan who represented all the management scoundrels who were taking baseball away from Milwaukee. I'll never forget it. Until the Brewers win it all, that sticks with me.

McCovey was an imposing figure in those days. His B-R page says 6'4" 198. Maybe that's what he was in high school. He was easily the most intimidating hitter in the NL along with Frank Howard until Howard was dealt to AL.


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Offline  Re: Willie McCovey dies at age 80
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Posted: November 02, 2018, 7:44 AM Post
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I watched him as a young kid most of the time vs the Mets and was always stunned by the man sheer size .


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Offline  Re: Willie McCovey dies at age 80
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Posted: November 02, 2018, 7:47 AM Post
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I saw McCovey in the waning years of his career - late 70s. I remember looking at his baseball card and marveling at his 1969 season. 45 HR, 126 RBI, .320 BA. If we had had advanced stats his 1.108 OPS and 121 walks would have been eye-catching.

I do remember watching him on occasion in this later years. The guy could still hit - 28 HRs, .280 BA at age 39. I just remember him hitting a home run and it seemed so effortless. Just an easy swing and he crushed it. Just an immensely strong guy.


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