Willie McCovey

Thursday, November 01 2018 @ 01:35 PM EDT

Contributed by: Magpie

Willie McCovey died this week at the fairly ripe age of 80, and while he's rightfully remembered as one of the most fearsome hitters of his day, I'm incapable of thinking of old Stretch without reflecting on how the 1962 World Series ended.

It was the ninth inning of the seventh game, kids. The Yankees were clinging to a 1-0 lead. Ralph Terry had held the Giants to just two hits. But Matty Alou pinch hit to start the inning and dropped down a bunt single. Terry struck out the next two men but Willie Mays lashed a double into the right field corner, and only an outstanding play by Maris prevented the Giants from tying the game then and there. McCovey was the next batter. He wasn't quite Willie McCovey yet - in four years, the Giants still hadn't figured out how to get him into the lineup every day. But in 1962 he'd hit .293/.368/.590 with 20 HRs in just 229 at bats. McCovey and Terry had seen plenty of each other by this point in the Series - 10 of McCovey's 13 Series ABs had come against Terry.  He had homered off him in the second game, and crushed a triple to deep centre off Terry in his previous at bat. Two out, first base open, the go-ahead run already in scoring position. The Yankees also had two LH relievers available in the pen: Marshall Bridges and Bud Daley, who had faced McCovey and retired him in Game Two.

What do you do?

You leave Terry in to pitch to him. Of course you do. McCovey promptly smashed a line drive, but directly at second baseman Bobby Richardson (who needed just one step to make the play) and the Series was over.

Can you imagine such a thing happening today?