Rating the Greatest Baseball Players of All Time

My rankings of the greatest baseball players ever, starting with number 1, in order.

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Saturday, March 27, 2004
 
Number 96: Willie McCovey

He was known as "Stretch" for his long reach at 6'4", but he was a slugger, pure and simple. He was not nimble afield, nor fast, and really had only one skill, that of hitting for power. But he did that oh, so well.

A member of the San Francisco Giants for most of his career, McCovey exploded onto the scene in 1959 with a 52 game stretch of hitting .354 with 13 home runs, and winning a unanimous Rookie of the Year Award. But the Giants also had Orlando Cepeda, and only one man can play first base at a time. McCovey was a platoon player for several years, as the Giants tried to push Cepeda into the outfield to make room, with limited success. After batting just .238 in 1960, McCovey settled in as a power guy, and was a big part of the 1962 pennant winners. McCovey tried his hand in the outfield for a few years, but by 1965 Cepeda had been traded and McCovey was the first baseman. He started a strong run, and won the 1969 NL MVP with a .320 average, 45 homers, and 126 RBI. After 1973, though, the Giants traded him to San Diego, and McCovey went south, then was acquired by Oakland for the stretch drive in 1976. He signed as a free agent with San Francisco again for 1977, and finished his career there in 1980.

McCovey earned 168.84 ratings points.

McCovey's stats: .270 average, 521 home runs, 1555 RBI, 2211 hits, .515 slugging average.