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Willie Stargell

From Academic Kids

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 two National League East division titles, two National League pennants and two World Series (1971, 1979).

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 and National League MVP (the latter being shared with Keith Hernandez, the World Series MVP Award and 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.

In his first year of eligibility, Stargell was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1988. 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 Pittsburgh 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."

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

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