Maury Wills’ Death at 89; Known for His Base-Stealing Wizardry
We were informed of Maury Wills’ death on September 20, 2022. He was a well-respected former professional baseball player and manager. May he never be forgotten.
David Carrillo Peñaloza expressed: “Maury Wills, who worked hard to achieve stardom with the Los Angeles Dodgers, then worked just as hard to regain dignity and standing within baseball through sobriety, has died, the @Dodgers announced Tuesday, Mike Kupper writes.”
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Born on October 2, 1932, Mr. Wills used to play in Major League Baseball (MLB) primarily for the Los Angeles Dodgers from 1959 through 1966 and the latter part of 1969 through 1972 as a shortstop and switch-hitter.
In 1967 and 1968, he played for the Pittsburgh Pirates, and the Montreal Expos in the first part of 1969. He was an essential component of the Dodgers’ championship teams in the mid-1960s and is credited for restoring the stolen base as part of baseball strategy.
Stealing a record 104 bases to break the old modern era mark of 96, set by Ty Cobb in 1915, Mr. Wills was the National League Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 1962.
He was an All-Star for five seasons and seven All-Star Games, besides gaining fame as the first MLB All-Star Game Most Valuable Player in 1962.
He achieved Gold Gloves in 1961 and 1962. In a fourteen-year career, Wills batted:
- 281 with 20 home runs,
- 458 runs batted in,
- 2,134 hits,
- 1,067 runs,
- 177 doubles,
- 71 triples,
- 586 stolen bases
- 552 bases on balls in 1,942 games
The legend is known to be a part of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization serving as a representative of the Dodgers Legend Bureau since 2009.
He spent eight years in the minor leagues after signing by the Dodgers in 1951. The Detroit Tigers bought his contract for $35,000, before the 1959 season; however, they returned Wills to the Dodgers after spring training as they did not think he was worth that salary.
Wills started his major league career in 1959 by playing in 83 games for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Maury played in each of the six games, hitting 5-for-20 with one stolen base and two runs in the Dodger victory in the 1959 World Series.
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Not a lot has been shared due to Maury Wills’ death, although it’s told that he sadly passed away Monday night at home in Sedona, Arizona.
No cause of death was given. He is blessed with six children, including former major league infielder Bump Wills, with his beloved wife Carla.
The legend finished with a career batting average of .281 with 2,134 hits in 1,942 games. He served as manager of the Seattle Mariners for parts of the 1980 and 1981 seasons, compiling a record of 26-56.
According to Dodger President and CEO Stan Kasten, Mr. Maury was one of the most exciting Dodgers of all time. With his base-running and making the stolen base an important part of the game, this legend changed baseball.
Dodger President and CEO Stan Kasten tributed by referring to Mr. Wills as a person who was very instrumental in the success of the Dodgers with three world championships.
He started playing semi-professional baseball when he was only 14. He used to play baseball, basketball, and football at Cardozo Senior High School.
Before graduating from Cardozo in 1950, Maury was named an All-City player in all three sports in his sophomore, junior, and senior years.
Larry Stone wrote: “Sad to hear of the death of Maury Wills, a boyhood favorite of mine with the Dodgers and later the second manager in #Mariners history. It didn’t go well, for a variety of reasons, but Wills leaves a great legacy in the game.”
One tweeted: “Farewell to Maury Wills, who passed away last night at age 89. A big star in the early 60s, he hadn’t signed with Topps and is missing from nearly every set during his career. He appears in some great SoCal regionals though like the Morrell Meats sets.”
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