Willie McCovey – “Big Mac”

One of the most intimidating power hitters of his era, Willie McCovey was called “the scariest hitter in baseball” by pitcher Bob Gibson.  McCovey was a left handed hitting First basemen who entered the big leagues right out of High School. McCovey played with the San Francisco Giants (1959-73), San Diego Padres and Oakland Athletics (1974-76).

In 1977, McCovey returned to the Giants and became the active home run leader (465) in 1977. In June of that year, for the second time in his career, he hit two home runs in one inning — becoming the first player to do this. McCovey hit hi 500th home run at Fulton County Stadium in Atlanta on June 30, 1978.

McCovey certainly was a scary power hitter, hitting 521 Home Runs in his career. He also drove in 1,555 runs, and had a .270 batting average in his career. McCovey was a six time All Star selection, a three time NL Home Run champion, and a two time NL RBI champion. McCovey brought home plenty of other awards durring his career, winning the 1969 NL MVP, becoming the 1959 NL Rookie of the year, won the All Star game MVP in 1969, became the NL Comeback Player of the Year in 1977, and also won the Hutch award in 1977.

McCovey’s number #44 was retired by the San Francisco Giants in 1975. The inlet of San Francisco Bay beyond the right field fence of AT&T Park is now called McCovey Cove in his honor. McCovey was deservingly inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1986.

Frank Thomas – “The Big Hurt”

Frank Thomas is in my mind, one of the scariest power hitters of all-time. Thomas, a DH/First basemen out of Auburn University, was drafted in the first round (7th overall)  by the Chicago White Sox in 1989. The Chicago White Sox is where Thomas spent the majority of his career, or better yet, did the most damage in his great career from (1990-2005). He spent the prime of his career with the Oakland Athletics ( 2006), the Toronto Blue Jays (2007-2008) and back with the Oakland Athletics (2008).

Thomas’ nickname, which is one of my favorite nicknames of all-time, was “The Big Hurt,” and for good reason. Thomas was known for not only hitting Homeruns, which he did 521 times in his career, but making great contact,  just flat out Crushing the Baseball, which is one of the reasons why he was nicknamed “The Big Hurt.”  Of course he put up other eyepopping stats, driving in 1,704 RbI’s, scoring 1,494 runs, 495 doubles, 1,667 walks, and an overall total of 2,468 hits in 1,0075 plate appearances in a total of 2,322 games in his great 19 year career. all totaling up to a .301 carrer Batting Average.

Thomas is also just one of just seven players before him (nine players overall) to have hit 500 home runs, while maintaining a .300 Batting Average, joining Babe Ruth, Jimmie Foxx, Mel Ott, Ted Williams, Willie Mays, and Hank Aaron (all Hall-of-Famers); he is now also joined by still current Major Leaguers Manny Ramirez and Alex Rodriguez.  He was also only the eleventh player to win consecutive MVP awards, and the first American League player to do so since Roger Maris in 1960 and 1961. In addition, he was a 5 time All Star and a 4 time Silver Slugger award winner. He also brought home the American Leauge Batting Title in 1997, and won the American Leauge Comeback Player of the Year award in 2000. And for good measure, he was also crowned The Home Run Derby Champion in 1995.

Wow! that’s why he’s one of my favorite “Sluggers” of all-time.  My comparison for Frank Thomas to another player would be David Ortiz, vise-versa. Why? because they each scary hitters who just flat out Crush the baseball which is what I love watching.  Deservingly, his number #35 was retired by the Chicago White Sox in an on-field ceromony on “Frank Thomas Day” on August 29, 2010.