Originally published by DodgerBlue.com
Los Angeles Dodgers legend Maury Wills passed away on Monday night at the age of 89 at his home in Sedona, Ariz. He is survived by his wife, Carla, and six children, Barry Wills, Micki Wills, Bump Wills, Anita Wills, Wnedi Jo Wills and Susan Quam.
Wills, who revolutionized baseball in the 1960s with his base-running exploits, served as a base-running and bunting instructor for the Dodgers’ Major League and Minor League players for many years during Spring Training.
“Maury Wills was one of the most exciting Dodgers of all-time,” president and CEO Stan Kasten said. “He changed baseball with his base-running and made the stolen base an important part of the game. He was very instrumental in the success of the Dodgers with three world championships.”
Wills first came to Spring Training with the Dodgers in 1951 as an 18-year-old and worked his way up through the farm system, making his MLB debut with L.A. on June 6, 1959.
Wills played 14 Major League seasons with the Dodgers, Pittsburgh Pirates and Montreal Expos, posting a career batting average of .281 and stealing 586 bases, the 20th-highest total in Major League history.
The seven-time All-Star led the league in stolen bases for six consecutive seasons from 1960-65, including a then-Major League record 104 in 1962. That season, he earned the National League Gold Glove Award and NL Most Valuable Player honors when he batted .299 with 130 runs, 208 hits, six homers and 48 RBI in 165 games.
Wills appeared in four World Series with the Dodgers (1959, 1963, 1965 and 1966) and helped the club win the first three.
He was also the first player to bat on artificial turf on April 18, 1966 at the Houston Astrodome and singled up the middle off Turk Farrell.
While still a player, Wills began managing in Hermosillo, Mexico, between seasons in 1970-71 and was voted the top manager in the league. He realized his dream of becoming a Major League manager when he served as skipper of the Seattle Mariners during the 1980-81 seasons.
Wills spent six years as a baseball analyst for NBC Sports on the Major League Baseball Game of the Week and one year as an HBO network in-studio sports personality. He was an instructor for 15 Major League Baseball teams, teaching the art of base-running and trained the Osaka “Hankyu Braves” in Japan for four years.
Under then-Governor Ronald Reagan, Wills was the chairman of athletics for youth in California. He also worked as an assistant to then-Pittsburgh Mayor Joseph Barr in youth relations and served as assistant to the district attorney of Clark County, Nevada, for youth programs.
He was involved with the Red Ribbon Program, a national organization dedicated to the prevention of drug abuse whose slogan is “Hugs not Drugs,” and he was a youth drug program role model for the Redondo Beach Crime Watch. Wills also made numerous appearances for the Dodgers’ community relations department.
Earlier this season, he became the 4th member of the “Legends of Dodger Baseball,” joining Steve Garvey, Don Newcombe and Fernando Valenzuela, who each were part of the inaugural class in 2019.
The Legends of Dodger Baseball is in recognition of franchise greats and their impact both on and off the field. Inductees receive a plaque honoring their achievements while playing for the Dodgers, which also goes on permanent display at Dodger Stadium.
“Maury was very impactful to me personally and professionally,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. “He’s going to be missed.”
Dodgers to wear patch honoring Maury Wills
The Dodgers announced they will wear a patch in memory of Wills for the duration of the 2022 season. The club has already been wearing a Vin Scully patch on their uniforms.
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