Willie McCovey, whose Hall of Fame playing career with the Giants spanned four decades, enters his 18th season as senior advisor to the team.
McCovey, who had hit more home runs (521) than any other left-handed hitter in National League history before Barry Bonds passed him in 2001, began his first formal association with the Giants' current ownership group in 2000. He had previously made special public appearances on an ad hoc basis for the present and previous administrations over the past several years, but had not held a formal front office position with the team since 1986.
In honor of the Hall of Fame great, the portion of San Francisco Bay behind right field at AT&T Park has been named "McCovey Cove." In 2003, the Giants unveiled a statue of McCovey at China Basin Park, which is located across from AT&T Park on the southern shoreline of McCovey Cove. He was honored during the Home Run Derby during the 2007 All-Star Game festivities.
In his current position, McCovey offers his expertise to Giants players when possible, appearing at Spring Training and during the regular season. He also makes occasional speaking appearances, and performs other valuable functions for the team.
One of the most respected and feared hitters in baseball during his 22-year career in the Majors, McCovey was a six-time All-Star, ranks second to Lou Gehrig in career grand slams (18) and hit the most homers (231) ever at Candlestick Park. "Stretch" also established 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, 80, has made an on-field appearance at the close of every season-with the exception of a few recent years due to his knee ailments-to present the Willie Mac Award. The only Giants award ever named after a former player, the Willie Mac Award was established in 1980 and is given to the Giants player who best exemplifies the spirit and leadership consistently shown by McCovey throughout his career.