Willie McGee: A Game Three Sensation

Willie McGee arrived in St. Louis in October of 1981 via a deal with the Yankees for pitcher Bob Sykes.  The San Francisco native made his major league debut on May 10, 1982.  The shy, slender McGee went on to have a good rookie campaign finishing the year with a .296 batting average and coming in third for Rookie of the Year voting.  He played in 123 games that season but Cardinlas fans will always remember him for his performance in game 3 of the World Series.

During the regular season Willie hit four home runs, one of them being inside the park.  Needless to say, he was not known for his power.  So when he stepped to the plate in game three in a scoreless fifth inning, most were not thinking home run.  There were two men on and he was facing the Brewers' Pete Vuckovich.  Vukovich threw a weak slider over the inside part of the plate and Willie knocked it over the rightfield fence.  He wasn't done.  In the seventh inning McGee came to the plate again, still facing Vuckovich with two outs and no one on.  This time McGee got a hold of a changeup and hit it into the rightfield stands.  "I've never hit two home runs in a game before," he said afterwards.


 

McGee's game three heroics were not limited to the batter's box.  In the first inning Brewers All Star Paul Molitor drove the ball to the wall in center field but McGee got there in time to make the catch. But he saved the best for last, literally.  In the bottom of the ninth inning, with the Cardinals up 6 - 2, the Brewers' Gorman Thomas came to the plate with one on and nobody out.  Thomas drove a line drive deep to left center.  McGee timed it perfectly, leapt and pulled the ball back from over the wall.  Not a bad day for a rookie in the World Series.

"I don't know of anybody who's ever played a better World Series game than he played tonight," said St. Louis Manager Whitey Herzog.

The Cardinals went on to win the 1982 World Series and McGee went on to a spectacular eight year career in St. Louis where he was a three time Gold Glove winner and a four time All Star.  Below are the two jerseys that Willie wore during that spectacular rookie season.


May 7, 2010 | E-mail | Comments (0) | Comment RSSRSS comment feed

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