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Dodger Baseball

Willie McCovey: Dodger Killer

What do I remember about Willie Mac? I hated seeing him face Big D. He owned Drysdale. If my memory is right, he hit 7 bombs off of Big D. During his career, Willie hit 45 homers against the Dodgers and drove in 162 runs.

His BA against was only .242, but he did a lot of damage. Mays did really well against the Dodgers during his career too. But as good as Willie was, I never once said oh no when he stepped to the plate in a clutch situation. But when McCovey came up, I cringed.

To me, Willie Mac was scary whenever he was at the plate, and remember, he was the reason they traded a pretty good first baseman, Orlando Cepeda, to open the position up.

McCovey had some awesome power. He was born in Mobile Alabama in 1938. He was the 7th of 10 children. His dad was a railroad worker.

Being a black child in Mobile in the 40’s and 50’s was not easy. Many of the kids would end up in gangs. They hung around street corners usually looking for trouble.

Due to his size, Willie and his friends played sports and dominated most of them. His mom ran the household, but his dad was the ultimate hammer, even though he was quiet. ” I got my share of whippings, you can bet on that,” Willie said. But he took those lessons and became a better person for it.

He was a first baseman in baseball, an end in football and played center when he played basketball. He was actually discovered by his playground director, whose brother had played in the Negro Leagues.

But Willie dropped out of high school at 16 to help the family. But then he went to Los Angeles to visit his brother Wyatt. Since his dad worked for the railroad, he rode for free. He liked LA so much he wanted to stay, but he got a call saying Alex Pompez had been trying to contact him.

He had set it up for Willie to attend a Giants tryout camp in Florida. The Giants sent him a bus ticket and he headed east.

Orlando Cepeda and Jose Pagan were also among the invitees. Even though he did not impress anyone, Pompez signed him anyway and he went to Class-D Georgia State League. His rise to MLB fame began.

Although still very raw he had little trouble hitting. He hit .305 with 19 homers his first season. It continued in Class-B  ball the next year with .310 and 29 slugged out of the park.

Promoted to AA Dallas, he hit .281 with 11 homers the next season. But more importantly, he suffered injuries to his ankle and knee and missed several weeks of the season. Although he had some speed, after the injuries he would be considered slow afoot. His knee was so bad it had to be drained.

McCovey, now 20 years old in 1958, was promoted to AAA Phoenix. Some of his teammates were Felipe Alou, Leon Wagner, Tom Haller, Willie Kirkland and Ernie Broglio. The won the PCL Championship and Willie led the way with a .319 19 HR performance.

He made it to spring training with the Giants in 59, but they had 2 All-Star caliber first basemen already, Bill White, who made a good impression in 1956 and then spent two years in the army, and the reigning ROY, Orlando Cepeda.

Willie went back to Phoenix, but by July, he forced the Giants hand. He hit .372 with 29 homers and 92 RBI’s in 90 games. Called up on July 30th, he hit .358 with 13 homers in 52 games and was voted the Rookie of the Year.

The Giants had traded White to the Cardinals, so the Giants moved Cepeda to third base. The Giants got Sam Jones in the trade and he won 21 for the 59 team. They finished 4 games behind the Dodgers and Braves who tied for the pennant.

The Giants moved to Candlestick and manager Bill Rigney moved Cepeda to left field. Willie had a tough first year there. His BA dropped to .238 with 13 homers. He actually had a lot of knee problems from 60-62 limiting him to 298 games over that span. He averaged 20 homers and 50 RBI’s a year, but his knee just would not allow him to play a lot.

That changed in 1963. He slugged 44 homers and drove in 100 for the first time. He made his first All-Star team. Although Willie would only hit over .300 once the rest of his career, he was becoming one of the most feared hitters in the league.

He terrorized the Dodgers. As a matter of fact, he scared everybody. He could launch one at any moment. And he was becoming a decent first baseman, something he worked hard at. His nickname was stretch.

Drysdale was his favorite victim. Over his career he battered Big D for a .336 avg and 12 homers. 12 of the 45 he hit against LA.

Willie would be the MVP in 1969 when he crushed 45 homers and drove in 126. It also was the last time he ever hit .300 with a .320 mark. His knee would continue to bother him over the rest of his career.

He would end up playing 22 years in the league. 19 of them with the Giants, 3 in San Diego and 11 games in Oakland in Oakland. He left SF in a trade for Mike Caldwell of the Padres in Oct of 1973. Bernie Williams was part of that trade too. No, not the Yankee great, the Other Bernie Williams.

The A’s purchased him in August of 76.  He went back to the Giants as a free agent in ’77 and would spend 4 more years there before retiring in 1980. What is amazing is that in over 9600 plate appearances, he struck out only 1550 times.

His final line was .270/521/1555. Good enough to get him elected to the Hall in 1986 in his first year on the ballot. Stretch died in 2018 at the age of 80. He is the one opposing player I saw play that I feared every time he stepped to the plate.

 

 

 

 

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Jeff Dominique

Okay everyone. I am going to be indisposed for most of Saturday and Sunday. This will probably be it for posts thru the weekend. However, everyone is very good at keeping the discussions going with current games played.

Another fantastic game by Emmet Sheehan. It took a week, but Emmet got his MLB first win. Michael Grove may have given a preview of where he will be needed with this team. Outstanding performances from each of the relievers for the third straight game. Evan Phillips and Caleb Ferguson were not used, and will now have 48 hours of rest if needed for Saturday.

Mookie 7th lead off HR on the season and a sac fly. James Outman 3-4 and 2 runs. Miggy Rojas 2-2 with a BB. Michael Busch 1-2 (double, 2) with a BB and RBI. Batters 7-8-9 had 10 PA and reached base 8 (6 hits, 2 BB).

Houston never had a runner reach scoring position, except for the pair of solo HR. LAD 1-4 WRISP.

LAD now needs Bobby Miller to rebound.

Phil Bickford has been activated and Alex Vesia has been optioned to OKC.

Dionysus

Always liked McCovey

Bluto

I forget who said it, but it feels relevant:

[team] chemistry is a three game winning steak.

For the dodgers it might be five games.

Bluto

Last year, Eric Longenhagen was the first to not Reynaldo Yean.

He’s back, via Josh Thomas:
Reynaldo Yean, a 19 year old with a fastball up to 102, tossed another scoreless inning tonight for the ACL Dodgers. His stats in six appearances in complex ball:

7.0 IP
0 hits
0 runs
1 BB
14 Ks

Dionysus

Whoa

Good to know

Bumsrap

Start the clock.

nonicnamebumfan

Willie was sure intimidating at the plate but watching this video. He seems like a big old teddy bear.
That’s a young Stu Nahan interviewing him

https://m.facebook.com/kcramichelledapper/videos/kcra-exclusive-a-tribute-to-willie-mccovey-part-2/724115801281772/

Last edited 11 months ago by nonicnamebumfan
Oldbear48

That was great. I used to drive by the old Giant complex in Arizona. It is crumbling down now.

Farhan Friedman

That was cool. Thanks for sharing.

Badger

Any day the Dodgers beat the Asstros is a good day

Maybe Miller is an Opener until he shows he can successfully go 5.

Bluto

Makes some sense.
maybe he just needs more time? Kinda fun to watch him at the majors, may also be better for him in OKc

big shrug.

Jeff

Send him down with Vargas, please.

Jeff

Actually, may be another reliever in the making. Our team seems to have some problems hitting the ball. We won, but not in a decisive way. Mustering. 5 hits is puny. This team always seems to underachieve, making it harder to win games without HRs and luck. I can’t remember an angrier pitcher than Stanek. Reminded me of a Draymond Green tantrum.

OhioDodger

Time for Vargas to go to OKC.

Badger

Gotta score 8.

And they did.

This team has grit.

Bumsrap

It was a fun game to watch.

Busch has been doing a great job of defending 3rd and has been getting key hits. He even battles pitchers when he does make out. He has plenty of power but doesn’t seem to be chasing 3 run home runs.

Outman is again making contact. Karros did a good job of thinking with the pitcher and if he could have whispered into Outman’s ear, Outman would be better anticipating what the pitcher was most likely to throw.

Giants win again. They are about to sweep AZ like they swept the Dodgers.

Does Miller really lose his mojo as easily as he may have done after being late to cover first on a bunt single? He needs to deal with lost mojo at the mlb level where the crowds are screaming and the game is big.

Sheehan was interviewed in the dugout during the game. He was poised and didn’t let the barrage of sunflower seeds being tossed on him during the interview distract him.

Betts made some great defensive plays in the infield. I like his bat in the shortstop position.

Badger

Will Busch make Muncy dispensable?

I think the team will live with Vargas’ learning curve. He’s making contact, it’s just weak. I think it will come.

The balk. I didn’t see it. Roberts explanation was Stanek noticed the pitch clock winding down and he flinched. Ok. If you say so Dave.

If we had a few more starters who could go five, which apparently is a huge ask these days, Miller out of the pen would be awesome. Graterol, Miller, Phillips would shorten the game.

The Dodgers have rookies all over the 26 man. Rookies make mistakes. I trust by September the apprenticeships will be over.

Asstros will be loaded for bear in front of national audience. This will be a serious test.

Last edited 11 months ago by Badger
Oldbear48

He got on the mound, and it looked like he started to get to the set position and then stepped off. The second base umpire called it. Angels got Moustakis from the Rockies after pounding them 25-1. He is probably ecstatic about leaving Denver, One of the pitchers sent to the Rockies is named VanScoyoc. I wonder if he is related to our hitting guru. Andre Jackson sent to the Pirates for cash.

Badger

Unless the rules have changed, stepping back off the rubber is allowed.

The Pirates have cash?

Oldbear48

Rules have changed a little with the pitch clock.

Badger

Ok. Speaking of the clock, I think they should add 5 seconds. That’s what they get with runners on, keep it simple. Ok, maybe 18. That’s enough for a deep breath.

Last edited 11 months ago by Badger
Bumsrap

Muncy
Last 7 games: .077.200.115 .315
Last 15 games: .140.234.351 .585
Last 30 games: .161.254.357 .611

April: .257.441.7431.184
May: .186.273.402.675
June: .094.237.219.456

2023 Season: .191 .323. .474 .797

2023 season vs. lefties: .141.253.375.628
wrisp: .180.386.475.861 with 20 walks

Last edited 11 months ago by Bumsrap
Badger

Trade him to Pittsburgh for cash and middle relief.

Singing the Blue

Trade him to Pittsburgh for AJax.

Badger

……. and cash.

Gotta score 8. They didn’t.

OhioDodger

Jackson traded to Pirates for cash considerations.

Bumsrap

Didn’t Jackson pitch 3 shutout innings in relief in his last outing and then surprisingly unwanted.

OhioDodger

He does have a 3 inning save this year.

Badger

He had 2. His first game and his last game. 10-1 win, and 9-0 win. He can eat innings for a mediocre club.

Badger

JD in a funk again. In the last two weeks his OPS is around .450.

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