Wilver Dornell Stargell, better known by his nickname “Pops,” was an American professional baseball left fielder and first baseman. In 1988, he was enshrined in baseball’s Hall of Fame.
About Willie Stargell | Family and Education
On March 6, 1940, in Earlsboro, Oklahoma, Willie Stargell was born. Gladys Vernell Stargell and William Stargell were his parents. Willie was forced to live with his aunt after the Stargell marriage divorced.
He eventually moved to Alameda, California, to live with his mother. Willie attended California’s Encinal High School.
He joined the baseball squad at his high school, which included future MLB players Tommy Harper and Curt Motton.
Professional Life and Career
His baseball career began with the Pittsburgh Pirates. He went on to play minor league baseball after that.
He honed his abilities with nursery clubs in New Mexico, North Dakota, Texas, North Carolina, Ohio, and Iowa in the early stages.
During his early years in baseball, Willie had to deal with a lot of racial prejudice. He couldn’t stay in the same hotels as the other players since he was black.
Instead, he was forced to stay in the slums of the city. Willie was specifically threatened with a gun not to play the game that night. Even after Willie disregarded it, nothing happened.
Willie’s personality and playing style had won him a lot of fans in Pittsburgh. People began to call him “Willie” as a result of his appearance. He preferred his given name, “Wilver,” nonetheless.
Because of his height, long arms, and distinctive style of holding the bat, Willie appeared to be larger than other batters. He used to merely hold the bat’s knob, which gave him more bat extension for home run swings.
Willie would be spotted in the on-deck circle warming up with a sledgehammer. He’d swerve his bat until the ball was thrown by the pitcher.
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Early days and debut
Willie’s first season in Major League Baseball came in 1962. But it took a few seasons for him to achieve success. He began his career as the Pirates’ starting left fielder.
His first home run came in April 1964 at Shea Stadium. During the season, Willie also participated in the All-Star games.
Willis hit over 100 RBIs in each of the next two seasons. In June 1965, he was named the National League Player of the Month. In 1967, he had to deal with obesity issues.
As a result, his performance deteriorated, and he only hit 20 home runs by the conclusion of the season. By 1969, he had regained his performance level thanks to the assistance of a personal trainer.
The championship is awarded
Beginning in the early 1970s, Willie began to improve. He batted.264 with 31 home runs and 85 RBIs in 1970. During the same season, the Pirates won the National League East.
In 1971, Willie defeated Hank Aaron to win his first home run crown. In addition, in April and June of the same year, he won two NL Player of the Month titles.
Similarly, In 1971, the Pirates defeated the Baltimore Orioles in the World Series. Willie participated in each of the seven games, helping the team to a 4-3 victory.
Every season, Willie was on a mission to better his numbers. In 1972, he hit.293 on average with 33 home runs and 112 RBIs. In 1973, Stargell won his second home run championship.
However, he was defeated by Pete Rose for the MVP title. Willie began his career as a first baseman in 1975. In 1977, he hit his 400th career home run against the St. Louis Cardinals.
It’s like having a diamond ring on your finger when you have Willie Stargell on your ball club.
The Pirates won the World Series once more in 1979. Willie won the NCLS MVP award as well as the World Series MVP honor. He hit seven extra-base hits and four doubles for a total of 25 bases.
Willie won the MVP title in the same outstanding season. He became the first player in NBA history to win all three MVP awards in the same season.
The Last Days
Willie’s MLB career was on the verge of ending after his greatest season in 1979. In 1979, he retired after 74 games. Stargell hit 310 home runs in his thirties, giving him a total of 475.
Willie set numerous records for the longest home runs in various NL parks during his career. His 507-foot home shot in 1969 was the longest at Dodger Stadium.
In 1971, he hit a 535-foot home run, the longest in Veterans Stadium history. He hit seven of the 18 balls that soared above the Forbes Field bleachers.
Every time he hit a home run, Willie’s restaurant in Pittsburgh’s Hill District threw out a free chicken to everyone present.
Life after sports
From 1986 through 1988, Willie was the Atlanta Braves first base coach. He then worked as a hitting coach for Chipper Jones, a minor league baseball team.
His former team, the Pirates, did not, however, consider him for the managerial position in 1988.
Scandal over drugs
Willie’s former Pirates teammates accused him of giving the players amphetamines. One of them, Dale Berra, claimed to have gotten the substance from Bill Madlock and Stargell.
Willie, on the other hand, categorically refuted the charge. A Commissioner later found the accusations to be false.
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Reuniting with the Pirates after a long absence
In 1997, Willie worked as a general manager’s assistant with the Pirates. In addition, he served as a special baseball advisor to Pirates owner Kevin McClatchy.
Willie has been suffering from kidney disease for a long time. He has also suffered from hypertension and heart problems.
Stargell died in a Wilmington, North Carolina, hospital on April 9, 2001. The direct cause of his death was complications from a stroke.
Honors and Awards
The Pirates retired Willies’ number 8 jersey in 1982. In 1974, the seven-time All-Star was awarded the Roberto Clemente Award.
He has led the National League in home runs two times and RBIs once. Willie was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1988.
Two days before his death, his life team unveiled a larger-than-life statue of him at its new stadium, PNC Park.
On the list of the 100 Greatest Baseball Players, he was ranked 81st by the Sporting News.
Pops married Dee Stargell and had a son and a daughter with her. Willie Jr. and Kelli were their children. Later, the couple divorced. Willie married Margaret Weller in 1993.
They went on to have two kids. Dawn Moore and Precious Stargell were their names. Willie’s offspring, on the other hand, are not well-documented. Until his death, he enjoyed a happy relationship with Margaret.
Net Worth | Willie Stargell
Earnings for baseball players were not always as high as they are now. An MLB player now makes $3.4 million per year on average.
However, things were different back then. In 1963, Willie signed a six-year contract with the Pirates worth $6000 per year.
Willie Stargell’s net worth in his later years was estimated to be around $1.6 million. He exclusively played for the Pittsburgh Pirates throughout his MLB career. Willie had to spend some of his income on hospital expenditures in his later years, approximately 1999.
The Black Athletes Foundation was founded by Willies as well. The organization generated funds and created public awareness about sickle cell anemia, which was a major public health issue at the time.
After his death, the foundation was renamed the Willie Stargell Foundation.
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Willie had already passed away before social media existed. The Willie Stargell Foundation does, however, have a Facebook and Instagram presence.
Frequently Asked Question:
What are Willie Stargell’s MLB statistics?
Willie Stargell finished his MLB career with 2,232 hits, 475 home runs, and a batting average. of 282 and 1,540 runs batted in.
When did Willie Stargell last compete?
Willie Stargell’s final game came against the Montreal Expos at Three Rivers Stadium on October 3, 1982.
Willie Stargell’s rookie card is worth how much?
The most expensive Willie Stargell rookie card to date sold for $6000 in 2017, while the cheapest was a mere $1.25.
What is the location of Willie Stargell’s grave?
On April 9, 2001, Willie Stargell passed away. His corpse was laid to rest in Wilmington, North Carolina’s Oleander Memorial Gardens. His memorial id is 21212, according to certain sources.
Quick Facts | Willie Stargell
|Full Name||Wilver Dornell Stargell|
|Birth Date||March 6, 1940|
|Death Date||April 9, 2001|
|Died of||Heart Disease|
|Birth Place||Earlsboro, Oklahoma, U.S.|
|Education||Encinal High School|
|Father’s Name||William Stargell|
|Mother’s Name||Gladys Vernell Stargell|
|Age||Died at 61 years old|
|Height||6 feet 2 inches (188 cm)|
|Weight||90 kg (198 lbs)|
|Eye color||Dark Brown|
|Playing Position||Left Fielder, First Batsman|
|Active years (Senior Career)||1962-1982|
Margaret Weller (m. 1993-2001)
|Children||One son & Three Daughters|
|Daughters||Kelli, Dawn Moore, Precious Stargell|
|Net Worth||$10 million|
|Merch||Trading Cards, Book|
|Last Update||May, 2022|