We’re in the twilight days of the Obama presidency now. And as with every president before him, Obama has been using his eleventh hour to grant commutations and pardons to Americans of all stripes.
Among the 273 citizens granted a second chance by the 44th president this week, and one far less controversial than Chelsea Manning, was Hall of Fame first baseman Willie McCovey.
A left-hander, McCovey finished his career with 521 home runs, and still holds the National League record for grand slams. He played 19 of his 22 major league seasons with the Giants. He is so beloved in San Francisco that fans to this day call the portion of the San Francisco Bay near AT&T Park McCovey Cove.
McCovey played his last season in 1980; he found himself in trouble with the law in 1995, when he pled guilty to income tax-fraud conspiracy. In a trial that also included fellow baseball hero Duke Snider, McCovey admitted that he willingly did not report to the IRS $70,000 he'd earned in appearance and signing fees from 1988 to 1990.
Although the guilty plea could have resulted in a sentence of up to seven months in jail, McCovey and Snider were each given two years’ probation and ordered to pay a fine of $5,000.
For Obama, McCovey had these words, “I want to express my sincere gratitude to President Obama not only for this kind gesture on my behalf, but also for his tireless service to all Americans. He will be deeply missed and I wish him all the best in the future.”