McCovey was the best hitter in baseball from 1968 to 1970. He led the league in OPS all three years. He was also walked 106 times in the three years, which is a pretty high pre-Barry Bonds totals. A six for four left-handed hitter he also looked fearsome at the plate. He probably wasn’t the best player as he was a first baseman and wasn’t that good of a fielder there either.
Unfortunately, it cost McCovey in his early playing days. The Giants also had another great hitting first baseman Orlando Cepeda. I have rated as the 26th best first baseman. Both were limited defensively and even though the Giants tried to play each of them at other positions for a few years, it never really worked out. It ended up having both players play less then they normally would have for their ability.
If McCovey were better at defense and would have played more in his early days, he probably would have had over 1,000 points and been in my inner circle. Of course, there were probably players who were great players who got hurt early in their careers or in high school. Willie did have a great baseball career. He was able to show the nation he was a great baseball player. Also, for a three year player he was the best hitter in the game. How many people can say that?