By Blaidd Drwg
With apologize to the great Terry Chapman.
They called him “Stretch”, he is a hall of famer and he was only the second best Willie on his team. He also had the distinction of almost bringing a World Series title to the Bay Area in 1962. Fifty years later, the Giants are back in the series, so it seems like a good time to post this.
Wilie McCovey almost made a place for himself in baseball lore in the 9th inning of game 7 of the 1962 series. Here is what happened (from Wikipedia):
The only run of this classic game came in the fifth inning when Tony Kubek grounded into a double play, Bill Skowron scoring from third. Ralph Terry, pitching the seventh game instead of Jim Bouton because of the rain delays, had given up Bill Mazeroski’s Series-winning walk-off home run two years earlier in Pittsburgh, but in his third start stifled the Giants’ power hitters. In the bottom of the ninth, pinch-hitter Matty Alou, batting for reliever Billy O’Dell, led off the inning with a bunt hit after first having a foul ball dropped, but Terry struck out the next two batters, Felipe Alou and Hiller. Mays hit a double into the right-field corner, but Maris played the carom well, then hit cut-off man Richardson with a throw that was quickly relayed home. Alou, aware of Maris’ strong arm, stopped at third. Facing Willie McCovey with two outs, Terry elected to pitch to him rather than walk the bases loaded, which would have brought up slugger Orlando Cepeda. Terry’s inside fastball on the second pitch handcuffed McCovey, who nonetheless adjusted his bat in mid-swing to extend his arms and hit what he later claimed was the hardest ball he had ever struck. The line drive appeared at first to be going over the head of a well-positioned Richardson, but was in fact sinking from topspin and Richardson made the catch without leaping to end the game. Terry was named the World Series MVP.
McCovey had a chance have one of the most dramatic series ending hits in history, but instead, he will have to be immortalized in the only two Peanuts baseball strips that mention an actual baseball game:
There is also a great interview with McCovey here.