June 25, 2021

The Baseball 100: No. 76, Willie McCovey (The Athletic)

Starting in December and ending on Opening Day, we at The Athletic will count down the 100 greatest baseball players by publishing an essay on a player every day for 100 days. In all, this project will contain roughly as many words as “Moby Dick.” Yes, we know it’s nutty. We hope you enjoy. 

There are players in baseball history who are all-time greats and there are players in baseball history who are folk heroes. There are not many who managed to be both.

Willie McCovey was both.

He was born on Jan. 10, 1938, in Mobile, Alabama. That was four years after Henry Aaron was born in Mobile and six months before Billy Williams was born in Whistler, just a few miles away. It’s one of baseball’s beautiful mysteries that three Hall of Fame hitters of that magnitude were born in the same place at the same time.*

* And if you ever find yourself wondering about the quality of the players in the Negro Leagues, think about this: If Aaron,…

Read “The Baseball 100: No. 76, Willie McCovey” at The Athletic