Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Nitty Gritty Card of the Day

Today's Nitty Gritty Card of the Day is card # 999 from 1968 Topps featuring Giants All Star slugger Willie McCovey.

1968 was a pretty good year for Big Mac - he was the NL's homerun (36) and RBI (105) leader and was the NL All Star starting 1st baseman for the 2nd year in a row. He stepped things up even more in 1969 when he once again led the league in homers (45) and RBI (126) with much higher totals. He also raised his batting average up to .320, lowered his strikeouts and nearly doubled his walk total. He would also lead the League in OBP (.453), SLG (.656), OPS (1.108), OPS+ (209) and also intentional walks with 45. Mac came within .028 points of winning the Triple Crown and won the National League MVP Award. Earlier that year he hit 2 homers to help the NL All Star Game and took home MVP honors there as well.

Willie McCovey's career started in 1959 with the Giants where he played in just 52 games but still managed to be the unanimous choice for Rookie of the Year after posting marks of (.354/13/38) in his short time on the field. Starting with a bang Big Mac never fizzled. He played for 22 seasons in the Major Leagues, 19 with the Giants, from 1959-1980.

He is one of only 3 players to hit homers in 4 different decades. He was the NL's homerun king 3 times and hit 521 for his career. He also hit 18 grand slams, the most by any player in the National League. McCovey made it to the World Series 1 time over 22 seasons, in 1962 when he was platooning with Orlando Cepeda. McCovey batted only .200, but did homer in the Giants effort. San Francisco would fall to the Yankees in 7 games and Big Mac would never return to the Series.

Stretch McCovey retired after the 1980 season and was elected into the Hall of Fame in 1986, his first year on the ballot. Last night over 50 years after Willie McCovey stormed into the big leagues, the Giants won a World Series, and after half a century in MLB Stretch got his first ring. Congratulations the Giants winning their first World Series since 1954 - finally proving they could win without Willie Mays and Monte Irvin.

Oh, by the way - they don't name a Cove after you if you ain't Nitty Gritty. I love this game, I love this hobby! 42 years LATER.

1 comment:

  1. It still hurts to see the Giants name in print. I'll get over it. That's some sweet Gritty-ness.