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Former Cy Young winner Mike McCormick dies at 81

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CORNELIUS, N.C. — Longtime Giants pitcher Mike McCormick, who won the Cy Young Award in 1967, has died. He was 81.

The Giants say McCormick died Saturday at his home in North Carolina after a long battle with Parkinson’s disease.

McCormick played 16 years in the majors from 1956-71 with the Giants, Orioles, Senators, Yankees and Royals. He had a 134-128 record with a 3.73 ERA and his greatest accomplishments came with the Giants.

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of Mike McCormick, a true gentleman and forever Giant,” Giants President and CEO Larry Baer said. “Like many Giants fans, I have many fond childhood memories of watching Mike pitch at Candlestick Park and then was blessed to call him my friend these past 30 years. As a member of the inaugural San Francisco Giants team in 1958, Mike helped establish baseball on the West Coast and then went on to play a major role in the legendary Giants teams of the 1960s, becoming San Francisco’s first pitcher to win a Cy Young Award.”

McCormick signed with the Giants as a 17-year-old “bonus baby” in 1956 for $50,000, requiring him to forego the minors at the start of his career. He recorded 50 wins before turning 23 and was the youngest player to reach that milestone until Dwight Gooden broke that record in 1986.

He made his biggest impact on the franchise after the move from New York to San Francisco in 1958. He recorded at least 10 wins each year from 1958-61 and led the National League with a 2.70 ERA in 1960 when he was named an All-Star for the first of two times in his career.

McCormick was traded to Baltimore following the 1962 season and struggled for four seasons in the American League with the Orioles and Washington.

He was traded by the Senators back to the Giants following the 1966 season and had a remarkable bounce-back campaign. He went 22-10, leading the league in wins, and posted a 2.85 ERA. He completed 14 games and five shutouts and was the first San Francisco pitcher to win the Cy Young Award.

He won 23 games combined the next two seasons before getting traded to the Yankees during the 1970 season. He then spent his final season with the Royals.

McCormick is recognized as the player who hit the 500th home run ever by a pitcher in the majors and also gave up Hank Aaron’s 500th home run. Because of these two feats, his personalized license plate read “Mr. 500.?

McCormick is survived by his wife, Dierdre; their daughter, Tara; and his children Mike Jr., Matthew and Stacy from an earlier marriage; six grandchildren and one great-granddaughter. He was preceded in death by his daughter Susan from his first wife, Carolyn.

Angels’ Andrelton Simmons opts out of final 5 games

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ANAHEIM, Calif. — Shortstop Andrelton Simmons has opted out of the remainder of the Los Angeles Angels’ season.

The Angels announced the four-time Gold Glove-winning shortstop’s decision Tuesday before they faced the San Diego Padres.

Los Angeles (24-31) is still technically in the playoff race with five games left in the regular season, and Simmons clearly caught the Angels by surprise, although the club said it respected his decision.

The 31-year-old Simmons, who can be a free agent this winter, is finishing his fifth year with the Angels. After spraining his ankle in late July and missing 22 games, Simmons is currently batting .297 with 10 RBIs while playing his usual stellar defense, albeit with four errors in 30 games.

“At this time, I feel this is the best decision for me and my family,” Simmons said in a statement. “We don’t know what the future holds, but we would like to sincerely thank the Angels organization and Angels fans for welcoming and making us feel at home.”

Manager Joe Maddon acknowledged he was caught by surprise when general manager Billy Eppler told him about Simmons’ decision Monday night after Simmons went 1 for 4 with an RBI single in the Angels’ home finale. Maddon texted Simmons, but hadn’t heard back by Tuesday afternoon.

“I’ve really enjoyed this guy a lot,” Maddon said. “I’m a big fan. This guy is a good baseball player, and I’ve enjoyed the conversations, too. It’s just unfortunate. He’s really a big part of what we’re doing right now.”

Simmons is a favorite of Angels fans for his defensive wizardry, and owner Arte Moreno has described Simmons as perhaps his favorite player to watch on the roster. Simmons has batted .281 with 36 homers and 281 RBIs during his five seasons with Los Angeles, and he won the Gold Glove in 2017 and 2018.

“He’s a thinking kind of a player, and I’ve enjoyed him a lot,” Maddon said.

Simmons will be a free agent this winter, and the Angels have an obvious replacement for him in David Fletcher, who has a .374 on-base percentage while regularly hitting leadoff for the Angels during his breakout major league season. Fletcher has been playing second base since Simmons’ return from injury.

But the Angels haven’t publicly closed the door on Simmons’ return, and he could be given a qualifying offer. Maddon has repeatedly said he would like Simmons to return in 2021 if possible.

The Angels haven’t had a winning season during Simmons’ five years in Anaheim, although Simmons said last week he wasn’t discouraged by the lack of team success. Simmons played his first four major league seasons in Atlanta, and he hasn’t appeared in the postseason since 2013.

Simmons also said he hadn’t been involved in any recent contract talks with the Angels, but he had enjoyed playing for the club. When asked if he wanted to return to the Halos, Simmons said he would have to “plead the fifth.”