Today in Sports History: June 30th


(Webber holds a draft jacket after the trade. Photo by Allen Einstein, Getty Images)

6/30/1978 - McCovey reaches 500 milestone

Hall of Fame first baseman Willie McCovey hits his 500th career home run, which he does off Braves' reliever James Easterly. McCovey became the 12th player in history to reach the 500-home run mark, which was considered tantamount to an automatic Hall of Fame induction. McCovey finished with 521 career longballs, tying him with Ted Williams on the all-time list.

McCovey held the record for most intentional walks in a season (45) for over thirty years, until fellow Giants great Barry Bonds shattered it with 68 intentional walks in 2002. Bonds earned the pitchers' respect partly by knocking pitches into the ocean, just beyond the shallow right field wall at Pac Bell Bark. That area of the water was honored after one Willie McCovey, and was called "McCovey Cove." See how it all came together?

6/30/1993 - Warriors and Magic swap Penny and C-Webb

Shortly after the Orlando Magic drafted Michigan forward Chris Webber with the No. 1 pick, and after the Golden State Warriors drafted Anfernee "Penny" Hardaway with the No. 3 pick, the two teams traded selections. Orlando got Hardaway and three future first round picks while Golden State got Webber. It was the first time that the No. 1 pick had ever been dealt on draft day.

Both players had been anxious to play alongside Shaquille O'Neal, who the Magic had selected with the No. 1 pick in 1992. Hardaway was thrilled when he learned the deal had been made. "Nothing against Golden State," he said, "but I'm looking forward to playing with Shaq."

Conversely, Webber appeared dismayed that he was heading out west. Nonetheless, he did his best to be upbeat when he and Hardaway swapped draft hats. "Maybe I wasn't the right thing for them," he said. "This is still a great thrill, to be the number one player in the draft."

It's hard to say who get the better of the deal, as neither team got a title out of it. Chris Webber had the better, longer career and wound up with more impressive career averages (20.7 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 4.2 assists per game), but Hardaway had more success in Orlando. Penny was probably the more complete player and as a 6-foot-7 point guard, he complemented Shaquille O'Neal perfectly. However, a series of horrible injuries ruined what could have been a Hall of Fame career. His best season came in 1996, when he averaged 21.7 PPG, 7.1 APG, 4.3 RPG, and 2.0 SPG -- all while shooting 51.3% from the floor.

Hardaway gave the Magic a complete starting lineup, and when power forward Horace Grant joined the team in 1994, they immediately advanced to the NBA Finals. But the free agent departure of Shaquille O'Neal and Penny's injuries sunk Orlando for the remainder of the decade. Golden State didn't have much luck either. Webber won the rookie of the year award in 1994 and helped the Warriors get into the playoffs. But he was so disgruntled with Warriors coach Don Nelson that he forced his way to Washington just a year after he was drafted.

Fittingly, Webber and Hardaway -- two player with great talent that never translated to a ring -- ended their careers in an eerily similar way: reuniting with old rivals. Hardaway finished his career with the Miami Heat, where he played alongside Shaquille O'Neal for the first time in a decade. Webber, meanwhile, played the final year of his career in Golden State, where he reconvened with Warriors coach Don Nelson. Neither Webber nor Hardaway was good enough at that point to finish the season with their respective teams; both saw their careers end in the 2007-08 season.

6/30/1995 - Murray reaches 3,000 milestone

Eddie Murray of the Cleveland Indians gets the 3,000th hit of his career with a single off Mike Trombley of the Minnesota Twins. Murray joined Pete Rose as just the second switch-hitter to accumulate 3,000 hits in a career, and he would hit his 500th home run the following season with the Orioles -- joining Henry Aaron and Willie Mays as the only players to get both 3,000 hits and 500 home runs.

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