1. Willie McCovey (1959-1973, 1977-1980), San Francisco Giants
Stats: 149 OPS+, .274/.377/.524, 1,974 H, 469 HR, 1,388 RBI, 1,113 R
WAR: 59.4 rWAR/61.4 fWAR
Accolades: Hall of Fame (1986), 1x MVP, 6x All-Star
WS Titles: 0
Who else but Willie McCovey in the No. 1 spot?
“Stretch” is a legendary figure in Giants history and he’s earned a place on the franchise Mount Rushmore.
McCovey was a star from the very start, needing just 52 games of action to win NL Rookie of the Year honors in 1959. He hit .354/.429/.656 with 13 home runs and 38 RBI in 219 plate appearances and won the award unanimously.
More from Around the Foghorn
- SF Giants sign veteran 1B John Nogowski to minor league deal
- SF Giants call on veteran LHP Scott Kazmir for big start against Padres
- SF Giants: Update on Alex Dickerson’s rehab assignment
- Atlanta claims SF Giants C Chadwick Tromp off waivers
- SF Giants: Could Johnny Cueto help down the stretch?
It was not until the 1963 season that he topped 400 plate appearances for the first time, and he made his mark, leading the NL with 44 home runs to earn his first All-Star appearances.
That was the first of three times McCovey would lead the NL in home runs, and the first of seven 30-homer seasons as well.
His peak came during a three-year span from 1968-70 when he posted a 188 OPS+ while averaging 40 home runs and 119 RBI.
That included 1969 NL MVP honors when he led the league in home runs (45), RBI (126), on-base percentage (.453), slugging (.656), OPS (1.108) and OPS+ (209) for a Giants team that won 90 games.
His first run with the Giants ended prior to the 1974 season when he was traded to the San Diego Padres in exchange for pitcher Mike Caldwell.
However, he returned in 1977 and posted a 132 OPS+ with 28 home runs and 86 RBI as a 39-year-old to finish 20th in MVP voting. He played three more seasons after that in a diminished role before retiring.
McCovey hit 469 of his 521 career home runs in a Giants uniform, and he was a first-ballot Hall of Famer with 81.6 percent of the vote in 1986.
Will the Giants ever have a better first baseman? Only time will tell.