Los Angeles Dodgers
Maury Wills (born October 2, 1932) is a former professional baseball player and manager. He played 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; he played for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1967 and 1968, and the Montreal Expos the first part of 1969. Wills was an essential component of the Dodgers' championship teams in the mid-1960s, and is credited for reviving the stolen base as part of baseball strategy.
Wills was the National League Most Valuable Player (MVP) in 1962, stealing a record 104 bases to break the old modern era mark of 96, set by Ty Cobb in 1915. He was an All-Star for five seasons and seven All-Star Games, and was the first MLB All-Star Game Most Valuable Player in 1962. He also won 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 and 552 bases on balls in 1,942 games. Since 2009, Wills is a member of the Los Angeles Dodgers organization serving as a representative of the Dodgers Legend Bureau.
In 2014, Wills appeared for the first time as a candidate on the National Baseball Hall of Fame's Golden Era Committee election ballot for possible Hall of Fame consideration in 2015 which required 12 votes. Wills missed getting elected by 3 votes.
Wills began his major league career in 1959 and played in 83 games for the Los Angeles Dodgers. In the 1959 World Series, he played in each of the six games, hitting 5-for-20 with one stolen base and two runs in the Dodger victory. In Wills' first-full season in 1960, he hit .295 and led the league with 50 stolen bases, being the first National League player to steal 50 bases since Max Carey stole 51 in 1923. In 1962, Wills stole 104 bases to set a new MLB stolen base record, breaking the old modern era mark of 96, set by Ty Cobb in 1915.
Wills also stole more bases than all of the other teams that year, the highest total being the Washington Senators' 99. Wills success in base stealing that year led to another remarkable statistic, he was caught stealing just 13 times all season. He hit .299 for the season, led the NL with 10 triples and 179 singles, and was selected the NL Most Valuable Player over Willie Mays (Mays hit .304 with 49 home runs and 141 runs batted in) by seven points. Not until Barry Larkin in 1995 would another shortstop win a National League Most Valuable Player Award. Late in that record-setting 1962 season, San Francisco
Giants Manager Alvin Dark ordered grounds crews to water down the base paths, turning them into mud to hinder Wills' base-stealing attempts. Wills played a full 162 game schedule, plus all three games of the best of three regular season playoff series with the Giants, giving him a total of 165 games played, an MLB record that still stands for most games played in a single season. His 104 steals remained a Major League record for switch-hitters until 1985, when Vince Coleman eclipsed the mark with 110. In the 1963 World Series, he went 2-for-16 for a .133 batting average with one stolen base. In the 1965 World Series, he played in all seven games and went 11-for-30 with three runs and three stolen bases in a hard-fought Dodger victory, his third and last World Series title.