Willie McCovey (born January 10, 1938 in Mobile, Alabama), nicknamed "Big Mac" and "Stretch", is a former slugger and first baseman who played Major League Baseball for the San Francisco Giants, San Diego Padres and Oakland Athletics between 1959 and 1980. He batted and threw left handed.
In his first game as a Major Leaguer on July 30, 1959, he went 4-for-4 against Hall Of Famer Robin Roberts en route to a .354 batting average that year. Three years later, the Giants were in the World Series against the New York Yankees. In the bottom of the 9th of Game 7 with 2 outs, Willie Mays on second and Matty Alou on third, and the Giants trailing 1-0, McCovey slapped a hard liner that was caught by the Yankees' second baseman Bobby Richardson. That would turn out to be the closest McCovey would get to being a world champion.
McCovey's best year was 1969 when he hit 45 Home Runs, had 126 RBIs and batted .320 to become the NL MVP.
In 1974, McCovey was traded to the San Diego Padres and without him the Giants and their fans declined. But after three mediocre seasons as a Padre, and appearing in 11 games for the Oakland Athletics at the end of the 1976 season, he returned in 1977 to the Giants. That year, during a June 27 game against the Cincinnati Reds, he became the first player to hit 2 home runs in 1 inning twice in his career (the first was on April 12, 1973). One was a grand slam and he became the first National Leaguer to hit seventeen. At age 39, he had 28 home runs and 86 Runs Batted In and was named the Major League Baseball Comeback Player Of The Year.
On June 30, 1978, at Atlanta's Fulton County Stadium, McCovey hit his 500th home run, and 2 years later, on May 3 at San Francisco's Candlestick Park, his 521st and last home run.
In his 22-year career (19 with the Giants), McCovey batted .270, with 521 home runs and 1555 RBI, 1229 runs scored, 2211 hits, 353 doubles, 46 triples, a .374 on base percentage and a .515 slugging average.
McCovey was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1986, his first year of eligibility. In 1999, he ranked Number 56 on The Sporting News' list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, and was nominated as a finalist for the Major League Baseball All-Century Team. McCovey Cove behind the outfield wall of the Giants' AT&T Park was named after him. The Giants retired his uniform number 44, which he wore in honor of Hank Aaron, a fellow Mobile, Alabama native.
In September 2003, McCovey and a business partner opened McCovey's Restaurant, a baseball-themed sports bar and restaurant, located in Walnut Creek, California.