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Hall of Famer Willie McCovey dies at 80 after battling ongoing health issues

San Diego Padres v San Francisco Giants

SAN FRANCISCO - APRIL 3: Hall of Fame players Gaylord Perry, Willie McCovey and Juan Marichal participate in a pregame ceremony before the San Francisco Giants game against the San Diego Padres during Opening Day on April 3, 2007 at AT&T Park in San Francisco, California. The Padres won 7-0. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)

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The Giants sadly announced on Wednesday that Giants Hall of Fame first baseman Willie McCovey has died at the age of 80 after a battle with ongoing health issues. According to Steve Kroner and John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle, McCovey battled a serious infection that nearly killed him four years ago and recently developed another one which hospitalized him last week.

McCovey played 22 seasons in the majors, 19 of which were with the Giants. He spent another two and a half with the Padres and had a brief stint with the Athletics. He retired batting .270/.374/.515 with 521 home runs and 1,555 RBI in 2,588 games. Currently, he is tied for 20th place on the all-time home run leaderboard with Frank Thomas and Ted Williams.

Along with being a Hall of Famer, McCovey won the 1959 NL Rookie of the Year Award, made the All-Star team six times and won the All-Star MVP award in 1969, and won the NL MVP Award in ’69 as well.

The Giants never won a World Series during McCovey’s career, but he helped bring them close in 1962 when the Giants lost the World Series in seven games to the Yankees. McCovey’s No. 44 was retired by the Giants and they unofficially named the area beyond the right field wall at AT&T Park “McCovey Cove.” McCovey also has a statue at China Basin Park, which is on the other side of the cove.

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