Words By: Rashad Grove

Baseball Hall of Famer Willie McCovey has passed at the age of 80.  Over his storied career, McCovey hit 521 career home runs and won the 1969 National League MVP award as a member of the San Francisco Giants whom he played 19 of his 22 big league seasons with. Representatives from the Giants organization announced McCovey’s death Wednesday, saying he “passed away peacefully … after losing his battle with ongoing health issues.”

A native of Alabama, McCovey made his major league debut in 1959, going an astounding 4-for-4 in his first game. He went on hit .354, with 13 home runs and 38 RBIs in only 52 games that season and won the Rookie of the Year award.

In one of his best all-around seasons in 1969, McCovey when he won MVP honors that year by leading the league in home runs (45), RBIs (126) and on-base percentage (.453).

In his first year of eligibility, McCovey was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1986. He would spend 18 years in a senior advisor role and remained an active member of the Giants organization even when his failing health forced him to use a wheelchair.

The Giants honored the memory of McCovey on Wednesday afternoon by flying the flags at AT&T Park at half-staff.