The Cardinals, who haven’t played a game for 17 days, have had an opt-out. He hasn’t played a game this season or for more than 20 seasons, in fact, but one of the franchise’s greats is going home.
Willie McGee, in his third year as a Cardinals coach, is 61 years old, suffers from high blood pressure and has three older daughters and five grandchildren living with him in the family home at Martinez, Calif. Those, he said, were three good reasons for him to ask the Cardinals if he could go home for the rest of the season, and president of baseball operations John Mozeliak said he understood.
“We feel it is in his best interest for him to head home,” Mozeliak said. “He will be missed (because) he does a great job but this is for the best.”
“I love baseball more than I love anything — almost,” said McGee, a Cardinals Hall of Famer who played on three World Series teams, won two batting titles and the 1985 National League Most Valuable Player award. “But, at this point, it’s God, family and baseball.”
McGee, who does not have COVID-19, was tested Friday morning and still plans to get tested a couple more times before he flies home. He is awaiting instruction on how to help coach the outfielders from home when he gets there and he admits he will miss being here very much.