MLB Hall of Famer Willie McCovey died Wednesday at the age of 80. A statement released by his former team, the San Francisco Giants, informed people that McCovey passed away "peacefully" amid "ongoing health issues."
McCovey became a beloved figure among Giants faithful after playing 19 seasons with the team. He was awarded National League Rookie of the Year in 1959 after batting a career-high .354 with 13 home runs and 38 RBIs in just 52 games. A decade later, the man known as "Stretch," solidified his legacy with MVP honors when he hit .320 with 45 homers and 126 RBIs.
"San Francisco and the entire baseball community lost a true gentleman and legend, and our collective hearts are broken," Giants president and CEO Larry Baer said in a statement, per ESPN. "Willie was a beloved figure throughout his playing days and in retirement. He will be deeply missed by the many people he touched."
"For more than six decades, he gave his heart and soul to the Giants -- as one of the greatest players of all time, as a quiet leader in the clubhouse, as a mentor to the Giants who followed in his footsteps, as an inspiration to our Junior Giants, and as a fan cheering on the team from his booth," Baer added.
When McCovey retired in 1980, he left the game with the most home runs by a left-handed batter in the National League. That same year, his No. 44 jersey was retired by the Giants. In 1986, McCovey was inducted into the Hall of Fame.