Monday, July 11, 2016

1984 All Star Game Honorary Captains: Willie McCovey & Hank Greenberg

It's the All Star break and I get to add to my collection of Honorary Captains.

The 1984 All Star Game was played in Candlestick Park and representing the National League was hometown hero Willie McCovey. A first ballot Hall of Famer in 1986, Stretch's resume is extensive: Rookie of the Year in 1959, NL MVP in 1969, All Star Game MVP in 1969, six time All Star, and the list goes on. He was the 12th player in MLB history to hit 500 home runs. He was only the second after Ted Williams to hit homers in four decades. Not only did the Giants retire his number 44 but when the new ballpark was built they renamed China Basin to "McCovey Cove" which is just outside the  right field wall.

Representing the American League was Hank Greenberg. Elected to the Hall of Fame in 1956, the career stats don't tell the whole story of this two time MVP. He was originally classified 4F in the draft for supposed "flat feet". He requested to be re-examined and was drafted into service in 1941 and received an honorable discharge just 2 days before the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He re-enlisted and served until June of 1945. Overall he served 47 months, the longest of any Major Leaguer. He missed all of the 1942,43 and 44 seasons, and most of 1941 and 1945. When he returned for the latter part of the 1945 season he hit .311 and in 1946 he led the League with 44 homers and 127 RBIs. Who knows what numbers he could have put up with the addition of over 4 seasons added to the prime of his MLB career.

The 1984 All Star game itself was won by the NL 3-1. Three of the four runs scored were from solo home runs by Dale Murphy, George Brett and the All Star Game MVP Gary Carter. The win went to Expos pitcher Charlie Lea. Rich Gossage of the Padres got the save. The loss went to former Southern Illinois Saluki, Dave Stieb of the Blue Jays.

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