On September 16, 1962, Willie Stargell made his major league debut for the Pittsburgh Pirates. Stargell’s debut only afforded him one at bat, and he struck out. Clearly this was no indication of the success he would have in the coming years. His entire 21-year career was spent in Pirates black and gold; during which he batted .282 with 475 home runs and 1540 RBIs. From 1962-1982, the Pirates won six National League East division titles, two National League pennants and two World Series (1971, 1979).
While “Pops” was beloved in Pittsburgh for his likeable manner and style of play, Willie was really known for hitting mammoth homeruns. Here are some of his incredible feats:
Forbes Field was home to the Pirates from 1909-1969. During that time, 16 homeruns were sent completely out of the stadium. Seven were hit by Stargell, in only eight seasons.
Stargell hit the very first home run at Shea Stadium during the arena’s inaugural game in 1964. Only four homeruns have ever been hit out of Dodger Stadium; two were by Stargell. In fact, the first of two still holds the record for the longest homerun at (or outside of) Dodger Stadium, measuring 506 feet.
The former home of the Philadelphia Phillies, Veterans’ Stadium, had a commemorative gold star with “S” inside marked the longest homerun within that park.
In 1978, Stargell became the only player to send a long shot into the upper deck at Olympic Stadium against the Montreal Expos. This shot measured just over 550 feet.
Again, these are just a few of the most memorable shots that came off of Stargell's bat. Words cannot describe the power he put behind each swing. Intimidation was a key factor in his success; Stargell was said to "not just hit pitchers, but to take their dignity." He even warmed up in the on-deck circle with a sledgehammer! Click the screenshot below for a short video paying homage to Pops... and don't forget to check out mitchellandness.com for our Stargell collection!