Hall of Famer Willie McCovey dies at 80

San Francisco Giants legend and baseball Hall of Famer Willie McCovey passed away Wednesday at the age of 80 after losing a battle with ongoing health issues, the team announced.

“San Francisco and the entire baseball community lost a true gentleman and legend, and our collective hearts are broken,” said Giants President and Chief Executive Officer Laurence M. Baer. “Willie was a beloved figure throughout his playing days and in retirement. He will be deeply missed by the many people he touched.”

McCovey was a six-time All-Star, a National League MVP (1969) and National League Rookie of the Year (1959) winner. He was a three-time NL home run leader (1963, 1968, 1969) and twice led the league in RBIs (1968, 1969). At the time of his retirement he ranked second to Lou Gehrig in career grand slams (18) and hit the most homers (231) ever at Candlestick Park.

He also had a Major League record for most seasons played (22) as a first baseman. In addition, he became the fifth player in MLB history to earn back-to-back home run and RBI titles, hitting 36 homers and driving in 105 runs in 1968 and then capturing NL Most Valuable Player honors with 45 home runs and 126 RBI in 1969.

McCovey had hit more home runs (521) than any other left-handed hitter in National League history before Barry Bonds passed him in 2001. His 521 career home runs are tied with Frank Thomas and Ted Williams for 20th on baseball’s all-time list.

Baer said McCovey is survived by his wife, Estella, and his daughter, Allison, and her children Raven, Philip and Marissa.