Glancing Back, and Remembering Wes Covington
Wes Covington was a strong man and a powerful hitter. He worked from an unorthodox batting stance where he held the bat behind him nearly parallel to the ground, then coiled it just before crushing unsuspecting fastballs.
He burst upon the scene in 1957, hitting .284 with 21 home runs and 65 RBIs in 96 games to help propel the Braves to the National League pennant. He had signed with the Boston Braves in 1952 and played in 75 games in 1956. He topped his 1957 season with a big 1958: batting .330 with 24 home runs, 74 RBIs and a .622 slugging percentage.
Then National League pitchers began to catch up with him. His home run totals slipped to seven in 1959 and 10 in 1960. In 1961, he hit 12 home runs with 47 RBIs playing for four different teams that season. In May he was selected off waivers by the Chicago White Sox, and a month later was traded by the White Sox with Stan Johnson, Bob Shaw and Gerry Staley to the Kansas City Athletics for Andy Carey, Ray Herbert, Don Larsen and Al Pilarcik. His tour in Kansas City lasted less than a month, as he was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies for Bobby Del Greco.
Covington stayed in Philadelphia for five years, hitting .284 and averaging 12 home runs and 47 RBIs per season. His best season in Philadelphia came in 1963, when he batted .303 with 17 home runs and 64 RBIs.
In January 1966, the Phillies traded Covington to the Chicago Cubs for outfielder Doug Clemens. He played in only nine games with the Cubs before being released and signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He appeared in 37 games for the Dodgers, batting .121, and retired at the end of the 1966 season.
In 11 years in the major leagues, Covington had a career batting average of .279. He had 832 hits with 131 home runs and 499 RBIs.