Willie Stargell

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Wilver Dornel Stargell (March 6, 1940April 9, 2001), ("Willie") beloved professional baseball player nicknamed "Pops" in the later years of his career who played his entire Major League career (1962-1982) with the Pittsburgh Pirates as an outfielder and first baseman.

Stargell was born in Earlsboro, Oklahoma. Over his 21-year career with the Pirates, he batted .282, with 2,232 hits, 423 doubles, 475 home runs and 1511 runs batted in, helping his team capture six National League East division titles, two National League pennants and two World Series (1971, 1979).

Template:MLB HoF In 1973 Stargell achieved the rare feat of simultaneously leading the league in both doubles and homers, with more than 40 of each: the last player to chalk up this 40-40 accomplishment was Lou Gehrig in 1934.

In 1979 Stargell earned the NLCS, World Series, and National League MVP (the latter being shared with Keith Hernandez), the only player to have won all three in a single year. He shared the Sports Illustrated magazine's "Sportsmen of the Year" award with NFL quarterback Terry Bradshaw.

Beloved in Pittsburgh for his style of play and affable manner, Stargell was known outside the area for monstrous home runs, including 7 of the 16 balls ever hit completely out of Forbes Field and several of the upper-tier home runs at its successor, Three Rivers Stadium. At one time, he held the record for the longest homer in nearly half of the National League parks.

After retirement, Stargell spent several years as a coach for the Atlanta Braves. In 1988, Stargell was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in his first year of eligibility. He died in Wilmington, North Carolina at the age of 61, on the day a larger-than-life statue of him was unveiled at the Pirates' new stadium, PNC Park.

Own quotation

  • "The (umpire) says 'play' ball, not 'work' ball."
  • "Trying to hit Sandy Koufax was like trying to drink coffee with a fork."
  • "Now I know why they boo Richie (controversial star Dick Allen) all the time. When he hits a home run, there's no souvenir." - After Allen, also well known for mammoth home runs, once hit a ball over the left-field roof of Philadelphia's Connie Mack Stadium.

Highlights

  • National League MVP (tied with Keith Hernandez, 1979)
  • 7-time Top 10 MVP (1971-75, 1978-79)
  • 7-time All-Star (1964-66, 1971-73, 1978)
  • National League Championship Series MVP (1979)
  • World Series MVP (1979)
  • 2-time led league in home runs (1971, 1973)
  • Led league in RBI (1973)
  • Led league in doubles (1973)
  • 2-time led league in extra base hits (1971, 1973)
  • Led league in slugging average (1973)
  • 2-time led league in OPS (1973-74)
  • Hit for the cycle (1964)

See also

External links