- 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 seasons in the big leagues. He debuted as a shortstop with the Dodgers in 1959 at the age of 26. He appeared in 83 games that season and then six more in the World Series, with the Dodgers lifting the trophy after beating the White Sox. In 1960, Wills played a full season for the first time, stealing 50 bases. That was the first of what would eventually end as a six-year streak as the best base stealer in the National League, with at least 35 in every year of that stretch and a whopping 104 in 1962. That mark of 104 was the was modern. MLB single-season record at the time, which stood until Lou Brock stole 118 in 1974. It wasn’t just the running game that was impressive that year. Wills also hit .299, had 13 doubles, 10 triples, six long balls and scored 130 runs. He was voted the National League Most Valuable Player that year, just ahead of Willie Mays.
Wills was with the Dodgers through the 1966 season, winning two more titles in 1963 and 1965. He also earned Gold Glove Awards in 1961 and 1962 and played in seven All-Star games over five seasons, as there were two games in each of 1961. and 1962. He then went on to play two seasons for the Pirates, before being selected in the expansion draft for the newly formed Montreal Expos. He was traded 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 time as a broadcaster before trying his luck as a manager. He was hired to manage the Mariners midway through the 1980 season, though his time as skipper was not very successful and ultimately brief. The Ms went 20-38 for the rest of the 1980 campaign and then started 6-18 in 1981. He was fired at that point and not given another chance on the bench, leaving him with a record of 26 -56 as manager.
Ultimately, Wills will surely be remembered for his incredible base-stealing prowess. In 1,942 career games, he stole 586 bases, a mark that ranks 20th on the all-time list of base stealers. He also scored 1,067 runs and had 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 Awards and an MVP award.