Willie McCovey Baseball Cards

Willie McCovey (1938-2018) played first base in Major League Baseball from 1959 to 1980. He spent most of his career with the Giants from 1959 to 1973 and 1977 to 1980 with brief stints in San Diego and Oakland in between.

Over his career, McCovey amassed 2,211 hits, 521 home runs, and 1,555 runs batted in, which he did on a .270 batting average. McCovey was a six time All Star, the 1969 NL MVP, a two time NL RBI leader, and a three time NL home run leader.

He finished his career second to Babe Ruth in home runs for a lefty, as well as seventh overall. He is remembered as one the great power hitters in baseball history. Teams were using the shift against him decades before that was a common tactic, and contemporaries like Bob Gibson and Reggie Jackson called him “the scariest hitter in baseball.”

In 1986 McCovey was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame on 81.4% of the vote on the first ballot. At the time, such a quick induction was less common, and he was only the sixteenth player to be inducted on the first ballot. Additionally, the San Francisco Giants retired his no. 44 jersey and inducted him into their Wall of Fame.

Born in Mobile, Alabama, McCovey was the seventh of ten in a blue collar household. McCovey was expected to pull weight by the time he was 12, and he dropped out of high school to work full time.

Playing in local leagues, McCovey was invited to the New York Giants tryout, and he soon impressed their scouts. He worked his way through various minor league teams, starting in Georgia when he was 17 years old in 1955.

McCovey debuted with the Giants on July 30, 1959. In his first game, McCovey faced off against future Hall of Famer Robin Roberts four times, and McCovey came away with two singles and two triples.

McCovey only played in 52 games in the 1959 season, but he was named the AL Rookie of the Year. He hit .354 with 13 home runs. McCovey reportedly said that major league pitchers were easier for him than minor league pitchers because of the control.

A sophomore slump followed, which can often happen across professional sports. The opposing pitchers work out strategies, and the field becomes tougher. McCovey was even demoted to the minor leagues, despite his ROTY status. The San Francisco Giants fans, who had viewed him as the future franchise player, heckled and booed him relentlessly. McCovey hit .238 with 13 home runs over a full season.

One of McCovey’s chief struggles was against left handed pitchers. The Giants manager would only play him when a right hander was starting, and he would bring in a pinch hitter if McCovey ever faced a left hander.

In 1962, McCovey only played in 91 games. He appeared in his only World Series that year. Though he had a critical home run in Game 2, McCovey is remembered for Game 7.

The Giants were trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the ninth with two outs. There was a man on second and third, and McCovey stepped to the plate. All he needed was a base hit, but his line drive was snagged at second by Bobby Richardson. The backlash and criticism was relentless.

Despite the early struggles, despite the noise from the press and fans, and despite blowing a Game 7, McCovey was relentless. He stayed with his career, and he became a rare first ballot Hall of Famer. He deserved it.

There are not many more stories or events to share in his career— the 1,500 RBIs and the 500 home runs speak for themselves.

When he was 35, McCovey was traded, and he continued to decline until he retired. He remained as an advisor for the Giants for years after.

There are many great cards that cover McCovey’s career, and this article will go over the best.

1960 Topps Willie McCovey Rookie Card

There are 572 cards of standard size (2 ½” x 3 ½”) in the 1960 Topps. The base card sits at #316, and a less noteworthy All Star card for McCovey sits at #554.

In addition to the valuable McCovey RC, a few keys include the cards of Ernie Banks, Mickey Mantle, Stan Musial, Willie Mays, and Bob Gibson.

For reference, PSA has close to 300,000 cards registered from the set, and about 4,500 cards are McCovey copies.

Sales on Mint copies are more common, and three different copies sold for close to $20,000 in 2021. The Mint copies sold for about $10,000 for several years, and prices have risen since the start of the Covid-19 pandemic.

On a budget of $1,000, a collector would have to drop to a PSA 7 in 2021.

1961 Topps Willie McCovey

There are 587 cards in this set of standard size, and McCovey’s card sits at #517. Major rookies on this set include Ron Santo, Billy Williams, and Juan Marichal.

There are over 330,000 cards registered with PSA, and 2,000 cards are McCovey copies.

Gem Mint copies have sold for a few thousand since 2017, but the last sale was for $4,560 in February of 2020. Since a Mint copy sold for $3,150 in March of 2021, the prices on Gem Mints is likely much higher.

On a budget of $1,000, a Mint copy is possible, but prices have been somewhat erratic since the beginning of the pandemic.

1962 Topps Willie McCovey

Willie McCovey’s card sits at #544 on this set of 598 standard size cards. Gaylord Perry and Joe Torre are Hall of Fame rookies on the set.

PSA has over 200,000 cards from this set registered, and over 1,000 of those cards are McCovey copies.

On a budget of $1,000, a Mint copy is possible, but a Gem Mint is out of reach.

1963 Topps Willie McCovey

There are 576 cards of standard size in this set, and McCovey sits at #490. Major rookies on the set include Pete Rose, Willie Stargell, Rusty Staub, and Tony Olivia.

There are over 200,000 cards registered from this set with PSA, and over 1,200 copies are McCovey copies.

Mint copies regularly go for around $2,000, and one Mint copy went for $5,105 in February of 2021. If you drop to a PSA 8, copies will go for a couple hundred.

1964 Topps Willie McCovey

The 1964 Topps has 587 cards of standard size, and McCovey’s copy sits at #350.

McCovey copies number over 1,000 with PSA’s registry.

Gem Mint copies have sold for between $2,000 to $5,000 for a few years, but Mint copies sell in the early hundreds.


There is a quality Topps card for every year that McCovey plays. As a first ballot Hall of Famer, every card is valuable. However, this article went through the early cards, which are often the most valuable and sought after.

During his Hall of Fame induction, McCovey was asked what he wanted his legacy to be. He replied that he only wished that he could be remembered, “As the guy who hit the ball over Bobby Richardson’s head in the seventh game.”

McCovey’s career was long and complicated. There is no better way to remember the greatness of the home runs and the disappointment of Game 7 than a McCovey baseball card.