The Dodgers announced today that three-time World Series champion Maury Wills has passed away. He was 89 years old.
Wills had an incredibly impressive career spanning 14 different big league seasons. He made his debut as a shortstop with the Dodgers in 1959 at age 26. He played in 83 games that season and then six more in the World Series, with the Dodgers hanging the trophy after beating the White Sox. In 1960, Wills’ was allowed to play a full season for the first time, stealing 50 bases. That was the first of what would eventually end as a six-year run as the top baserunner in the National League, with at least 35 in every year of that period and a whopping 104 in 1962. That 104 was the single of the modern era — season MLB record at the time, which stood until Lou Brock swept 118 in 1974. It wasn’t just the running game that was impressive that year. Wills also hit .299, hitting 13 doubles, 10 triples, six long balls and scoring 130 runs. He was voted the National League Most Valuable Player that year, just ahead of Willie Mays.
Wills was with the Dodgers throughout the 1966 season, winning two more titles in 1963 and 1965. He also won Gold Glove awards in 1961 and 1962, and played in seven All-Star games over five seasons, as there were in each of 1961 were two games. and 1962. He then played for the Pirates for two seasons, before being selected in the expansion draft for the newly formed Montreal Expos. He was traded back to the Dodgers in June 1969 and stayed with them until the end of the 1972 season.
After his playing days were over, Wills spent some time as a broadcaster before trying his hand as a manager. He was hired to lead the Mariners midway through the 1980 season, although his time as a skipper was not very successful and ultimately short. The M’s scored 20-38 for the remainder of the 1980 campaign, then started 6-18 in 1981. He was fired at that point and was not given another chance in the dugout, leaving him with a management record of 26-56 .
Ultimately, Wills will definitely be remembered for his incredible ability to steal base. In 1,942 games in his career, he stole 586 bases, a figure that places him 20th on the all-time baserunner list. He also scored 1,067 runs and scored 2,134 hits, including 177 doubles, 71 triples and 20 home runs. He earned three World Series rings, seven All-Star appearances, two Gold Glove honors and an MVP award. MLBTR extends our condolences to his family, friends and loved ones.