Wilver Dornell "Willie" Stargell (March 6, 1940 – April 9, 2001), nicknamed "Pops" in the later years of his career, was an American professional baseball player. He played his entire Major League Baseball (MLB) career (1962–1982) as the left fielder and first baseman for the Pittsburgh Pirates of the National League (NL). Over his 21-year career with the Pirates, he batted .282, with 2,232 hits, 423 doubles, 475 home runs and 1,540 runs batted in, helping his team capture six National League East division titles, two National League pennants and two World Series (1971, 1979). Stargell was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1988.
Stargell was born in Earlsboro, Oklahoma, but later moved to Florida with an aunt after the divorce of his parents. Later he returned to Alameda, California to live with his mother. He attended Encinal High School, where his baseball teammates included future MLB players Tommy Harper and Curt Motton. Stargell signed with the Pittsburgh Pirates organization and entered minor league baseball in 1959.
Stargell played for farm teams in New Mexico, Iowa, Texas, North Carolina and Ohio. While on the road with some of those teams, Stargell was not allowed to stay in the same accommodations as the white players. Lodging for black players was located in the poor black areas of those towns. While in Plainview, Texas, he was accosted at gunpoint by a man who threatened his life if he played in that night's game. Stargell played and nothing came of the incident. He might have quit baseball over the racial difficulties that he experienced, but he was encouraged by letters he received from friend and baseball scout Bob Zuk...
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