Results tagged ‘ Willie Mac Award ’
The San Francisco Giants took two out of three games against the Los Angeles Dodgers this week. With the two wins on Wednesday and Thursday night, they won the season series against the N.L. Western Division Champions, 11-8.
The Giants received good starting pitching from Matt Cain in Tuesday night’s loss (2-1). On Wednesday night, Barry Zito gave the team five innings and giving up one earned run. On Thursday night, Tim Lincecum gave up two runs in his seven innings of work. The future of Zito (option year in 2014) and Lincecum (free agency at the end of the season) are in doubt as well as Friday night’s starting pitcher – Ryan Vogelsong.
On Thursday night, in the rubber game of the series, Angel Pagan’s home run that hit the top of the left field fence and bounced over, gave the Giants a 3-2 victory.
The Giants (74-85) will complete the 2013 season on Friday night against the San Diego Padres. Before the game, the Willie Mac Award will be given out and it’s been reported that Hunter Pence is the 2013 winner. Pence has played in every game (159) of the 2013 season and has the most consecutive games streak in the National League.
Though Willie Mays was my all time favorite Giant, there was another Giant that was very close behind.
Willie McCovey, to many on the Giants and around baseball was one of the top clutch players alive in the 1960s and 1970s. Hitting behind Willie Mays in the Giants’ lineup for a good portion of his career. McCovey hit 512 career home runs. He still holds the record for all time grand slams (18) in the National League.
In 1959, he was terrorizing the Pacific Coast League and was leading the league in batting average when the Giants brough him up. In his first game at Seals Stadium, he went four for four off another Hall Of Famer – Robin Roberts of the Philadelphia Phillies. Besides his hitting power, he could play a better than average first base. Because of injuries, particularly to his knees, he could possibly have played a little longer. Though he played just 54 games after the callup, he was voted the National League’s Rookie Of The Year. The previous season, Orlando Cepeda, also of the Giants, win the National League Rookie Of The Year Award. Both McCovey and Cepeda are enshrined in Baseball’s Hall Of Fame.
The game that stands out to me mist was his final game in a Giants uniform. I was vacationing in Southern California and took in a Giants-Dodgers game in July 1980. McCovey had mentioned several weeks earlier that he was going to be retiring before the All Star Break.
On a hazy warm and sunshine afternoon, he came up late as a pinch hitter and doubled helping to lead the Giants to an extra inning victory. The Dodger fans, knowing that he was going to be his farewell appearance gave him a standing ovation when McCovey was pulled for a pinch runner. McCovey was among perhaps a short list of baseball players who played in four decades!
Because of what McCovey did for the organization that I’ve followed, I decided to use the title – Stretch 44 for my blog and 44cove as the URL for mlblogs.com.
Later in 1980 during the Giants last homestand, the Willie Mac Award was given out for the first time. It is awarded to the player on the San Francisco Giants who best exemplifies the spirit and leadership consistently shown by McCovey throughout his long career, It is voted on by the players and coaching staff. Other than 1994 when there was a strike that canceled the remainder of the regular season and World Series, the award has been given out.
The first winner in 1980 was outfielder – Jack Clark and catcher – Buster Posey was the award winner in 2012. There are plaques out near the McCovey statue (shown above) with the player’s name and date.
I know I don’t have a vote in this but if I did, the 2013 winner, hands down, will be Hunter Pence. Pence, who is currently the Giants top home run and runs batted in leader has not missed a game in 2013. To me, he comes to play every day and is constantly husting whether chasing a fly ball or running out an infield grounder. Pence, who played for the Houston Astros and Philadelphia Phillies before coming to the Giants last July has been exciting to watch, in what’s been a disappointing season. I hope that’s enough for the Giants’ brass to have him in a Giant uniform in 2014 and beyond. I know he wants to stay here!
The Willie Mac Award will be presented a week from next Friday before the team’s last series with the San Diego Padres at AT&T Park.