Some of the Top Cards of 1976

Monday, August 9, 2010

1976 Topps #520 - Willie McCovey


  • Willie McCovey just doesn't look right in a San Diego uniform. McCovey was signed by the New York Giants in 1955. He played in the minors from 1955-1960 and had great offensive seasons wherever he played. When Willie played for Dallas in the Texas League in 1957 he couldn't participate in games in Shreveport, LA because of segregation in that city.
  • McCovey was batting .372 with 29 HR in 95 games in AAA Phoenix when he was called up to the Giants. Willie continued his torrid hitting pace in San Francisco as he batted .354 with 13 HR and 38 RBI in 52 games. Willie went 4 for 4 with two triples off of Robin Roberts in his major league debut on July 30. Even though he only played 1/3 of the season, McCovey was named NL Rookie of the Year.
  • Willie overdid it on the banquet circuit after the 1959 season and reported to camp overweight. His normal playing weight was about 200 pounds and he weighed about 225-230. Willie was sent back to Phoenix for a couple of weeks after a late-night indiscretion. McCovey In Tacoma As Bat Goes Cold - July 17, 1960 Miami News. He batted .238 with 13 HR in 101 games in 1960.
  • Willie McCovey Will Come Back! - April 1961 Baseball Digest. McCovey bounced back with a good 1961 season (.271, 18 HR, 50 RBI) but he was hampered by the fact that the Giants had Orlando Cepeda, who also played first base. The Giants sometimes used Willie in left field, but his defense was less than stellar there.
  • McCovey was a bench player in 1962, splitting his time between first base and left field. In 91 games Willie batted .293 with 20 HR and 54 RBI. McCovey went 3 for 15 (.200) in the 1962 World Series and made the last out in game 7 with runners on second and third, two out, and the Giants trailing by one run. He hit a hard line drive but it was right at 2B Bobby Richardson.

  • Willie had his first really big year in 1963. He led the NL in home runs (44), batted .280, and had 102 RBI. McCovey made the NL All Star team and struck out in a pinch-hitting appearance.
  • McCovey had a poor year in 1964. He batted .220 with 18 HR and 54 RBI in 130 games. In 1965 Cepeda was injured and missed most of the season. That opened up the way for McCovey to become the starting first baseman. Willie batted .276 with 39 HR and 92 RBI in 1965.
  • During this time (1965-1971) McCovey was one of the most feared hitters in baseball. Willie was the starting first baseman for the NL in the 1966 All Star Game and went 0 for 3 with an intentional walk. He batted .295 with 36 HR and 96 RBI in 1966. In 1967 McCovey batted .276 with 31 HR and 91 RBI.
  • In 1968 Willie led the NL in home runs (36), RBI (105), and slugging percentage (.545) while batting .293. He didn't do very well in the All Star game -- he struck out three times and grounded into a double play. Injury Benches McCovey for 10 Days - Reading Eagle, May 18, 1968.
  • The 1969 season was Willie's best year. He batted .320 with 45 HR and 126 RBI. He led the NL in HR, RBI, and slugging percentage (.656) and was intentionally walked 45 times. McCovey was the 1969 NL Most Valuable Player and also was the MVP of the All Star Game (he homered twice in the game). Is Willie McCovey Heading for His Best Year? - June 1969 Baseball Digest. Why Willie McCovey Won MVP Award - March 1970 Baseball Digest.
  • Willie had another big year in 1970. He batted .289 with 39 HR and 126 RBI and went 1 for 2 in the All Star Game. Eye Ailment Slowing Down Giant Star Willie McCovey - March 14, 1970 Ellensburg Daily Record.
  • McCovey had a few injuries in 1971 and played in only 105 games. A Giant Nightmare Without McCovey - September 16, 1971 St. Petersburg Times. Willie batted .277 with 18 HR and  70 RBI for the NL West Champions. He made the NL All Star team for the last time and went 0 for 2. McCovey batted .429 with two home runs in the NLCS. Willie McCovey-Baseball's Most Feared Batter - June 1971 Baseball Digest.
  • Willie missed a lot of time in 1972 due to a broken arm that he suffered in a collision at first base and had one of his worst seasons. He played in 81 games and batted .213 with 14 HR and 35 RBI. McCovey had a good comeback season in 1973 and batted .266 with 29 HR and 75 RBI. After the 1973 season Willie was traded with Bernie Williams to the San Diego Padres for Mike Caldwell (McCovey knew it was over - October 27, 1973 Ellensburg Daily Record).
  • In 1974 McCovey batted .253 with 22 HR and 63 RBI and in 1975 he batted .252 with 23 HR and 68 RBI. Willie struggled in 1976 and batted .204 with 7 HR in 71 games for the Padres. On August 30 the Padres sold Willie to the Oakland A's (McCovey Disgruntled over Finley's Deal - The Free Lance Star - August 31, 1976). McCovey batted .208 in 11 games for the A's and was released after the 1976 season.
  • The Giants signed Willie in January 1977. McCovey was the Comeback Player of the Year as he batted .280 with 28 HR and 86 RBI. On June 27 Willie hit two home runs in one inning. He had done this once before in 1973. Willie and Andre Dawson are the only two players to have accomplished this feat.
  • On June 30, 1978 McCovey hit his 500th home run off of Jamie Easterly of the Atlanta Braves. McCovey had a salary dispute with Giants' owner Bob Lurie and considered retirement early in the 1978 season. Willie batted .228 with 12 HR and 68 RBI in 1978. In 1979 McCovey batted .249 with 15 HR and 57 RBI. McCovey became a "four decade player" in 1980. He batted .204 with 1 HR and retired in July. He and Ted Williams are the only two players to have homered in four different decades.
  • Willie McCovey Picks His Personal All Star Team - April 1981 Baseball Digest.
  • Willie was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1986.
  • In 1996 McCovey was given probation and fined for incomplete reporting of his 1988-1990 taxes. Snider, McCovey plead guilty to tax evasion - July 21, 1995 Deseret News. 2 Yrs Probation for McCovey in 69G Tax Dodge - June 8, 1996 New York Daily News
  • Willie opened a restaurant (McCovey's Restaurant) in Walnut Creek, CA in 2003.
  • Willie is now a senior adviser with the Giants.
  • Giants Legend Willie McCovey Talks Panda, the Dodgers, and His Cove - March 14, 2010.
  • Liked to face: Don Drysdale (.336 with 12 HR in 128 AB); Bob Moose (.545 with 7 HR in 33 AB); Robin Roberts (.452 in 31 AB)
  • Hated to face: Gaylord Perry (.000 in 10 AB); Dick Ellsworth (.050 in 20 AB); Warren Spahn (.136 with 14 strikeouts in 59 AB)

2 comments:

  1. McCovey looks completely natural to me in a Padre uniform, because in the first two cards I ever saw of him (this one and the '75 card), he was a Padre.

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