I loved Willie McCovey. He was my hero when I was in grade school. He was my hero when I was in high school and the Giants brought Willie back for the exciting 1978 season. My friend Steve Hamaguchi and I were at Willie’s final game in San Francisco and I still have the San Francisco Chronicle with Willie’s picture facing the fans above the Giants dugout and there is Steve and I in his Dad’s company’s seats, cheering our beloved hero.
I was lucky enough to meet Willie in person at AT&T Park about 10 years ago. My brother, Dave, is the Culinary Director at the ballpark and, at that time, he was Executive Chef. He became close with Willie. I’ll never forget the call when my friend Travis and I were at a game. “Wanna meet Willie?” my brother asked. Immediately, my heart rate skyrockets. I’ll never forget walking into his private box and shaking his enormous hand. Truly, a highlight of my life.
The next year, my brother and I had dinner with Willie at his restaurant in Walnut Creek in his private dining area. We watched a Giants game together on TV. I watched a baseball game with Willie McCovey!!
All the tributes I am hearing about Willie are spot on. He was a kind and gracious man. When I saw him a couple of times after our initial meeting, he remembered that I lived in Redding and would comment on that. He made you feel like you were just as important as he was.
I will never forget him. My life was better because he was in it.
Hey! Chemistry students! Open the PowerPoint below and work through these questions. Check your answers with Mr. Button.