Wednesday, October 21, 2009
Card #3, Willie McCovey '77 Record Breaker
Here we are onto card number 3. This one features Willie McCovey as a record breaker. He is actually more of a record establisher I think. In 1977 he became the first player ever to hit two-home runs in one inning, TWICE! I really don’t know if anyone else has matched this mark since, but my guess is no. McCovey is one of the greatest power hitters of all time. He ranks about the elite in home runs, RBI and he is third All Time in number of times intentionally walked. Take away the guy is first place who became a slugger via the needle and McCovey is second in that category, behind only Hank Aaron. Along his stellar career McCovey blasted 521 home runs (18th All Time) over 22 seasons, his final one coming as a San Francisco Giant at the age of 42 in 1980. He also had a 3 home run game on three separate occasions, but this card celebrates the second time he hit two homers in one inning. The record breaking occasion occurred on June 27, 1977 and one of his blasts was a Grand Slam. That was his 17th career granny and he hit his 18th later that year. He did all of this as a 39-year-old first baseman for the Giants who many had written off after a disappointing year at the plate in 1976 when he hit just 7 homeruns while splitting time between the Padres and the A’s. The 39-year-old slugger showed up his critics in ’77 when he hit .280 with 28 homers and 86 RBIs as the Giants first baseman. He also added in this 2 home run in one inning game, hit two grand slams while being walked intentionally 16 times that year en route to being named the NLs Comeback Player of the Year. McCovey’s career spanned 22 seasons and in that time he was an All Star 6 times and was named the NL’s MVP in 1969 when he had an explosive year at the plate. He finished 3rd in the league in batting with a .320 average, but he paced the league in homers with 45, RBI with 126, on base percentage, times intentionally walked (45) and slugging percentage with a .656 mark. In 1986 McCovey was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame as a first ballot inductee. The Giants have retired his number 44. There is probably a chance that someone someday will tie this mark, but I don’t see anyone in the near future belting 2 homers in an inning 3 times… The front of the card isn’t as groovy as I would like, although he does have a bat in his hand, he isn’t using it and the shadows on his face make him unidentifiable other than his number 44. Once again, the title of the record is great-“Most Time, 2 HR’s In Inning, Lifetime”. Hey, it is an impressive mark and could you blame Topps for trying to squeeze an extra McCovey card into the set? Card number 4 is coming soon…As a personal favor and an end note. If you are reading this blog, could you please add it to your blog roll? I thank you in advance!