For 1971, he played in 149 games while having 169 hits, 15 stolen bases and a .281 batting average, although he finished 6th in MVP voting. Wills played in all 162 regular season games and the 3 tie-breaker games, which are counted as regular season games, much like today's one-game playoffs are counted as regular season contests. The series went all three games, with the Giants winning the pennant. Finally, in 1980, the Seattle Mariners fired Darrell Johnson and gave Wills the reins. And the other side of my brain is saying, 'You're going to get thrown out, don't get thrown out.' However, Wills at age 32, began to slow in the second half. Wills also led the league in playing in all 165 of the Dodgers' games (including their three-game playoff with the Giants) and with 695 at-bats. 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. When the 1962 season ended the San Francisco Giants and the Dodgers were tied with a 101-61 record. He began his noteworthy base stealing efforts in 1960, when he hit .295 (10th in the NL) and stole 50 bases. He only suffered nine lost games, and he also finished fifth in the voting for the MVP trophy. Meanwhile, the Giants won 2–1 over the Houston Colt .45's, after an eighth-inning home run by Willie Mays.  For roughly two years, starting on October 24, 1968, Wills was the co-owner, operator and featured performer of a new nightclub, The Stolen Base (aka Maury Wills' Stolen Base), located in Pittsburgh's Golden Triangle and offering a mix of "banjos, draft beer and baseball. 1962 MVP Maury Wills.  While not the fastest runner in the major leagues, Wills accelerated with remarkable speed. Given Name: Maurice Morning Tommy Davis, batting in the heart of the Dodgers' batting order, had a season that in another season might have earned him the National League Most Valuable Player (MVP) award. Wills had been signed in 1951 by the Brooklyn Dodgers but when he came up to the majors in 1959, they had moved to Los Angeles. | In the following year, he played in 132 games while having 141 hits and 28 stolen bases on a .270 batting average. On Craig's next pitch to the plate, Wills stole second. Can you guys tell the story about the Dodgers 1962 season? The team held a Maury Wills Day at Dodger Stadium late in the season, But, Wills told the crowd, he didn’t plan on retiring. Post Cancel. trueblueLA.com. In the '49–'50 school year, three-sport standout Sonny Wills was named an All City football quarterback, basketball player, and baseball pitcher. The team was a mix of veterans and young stars. any time he got on base. We present them here for purely educational purposes. This gave him a career record of 26-56 for a winning percentage of .317, one of the worst ever for a non-interim manager. | In the following season, he played in 153 games, getting 174 hits, 31 RBIs and 52 stolen bases, although he was caught stealing 21 times, with a .278 batting average. 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. The three-game tiebreaker series was considered part of the regular season for statistical purposes. Official Sites. Wills's inability to communicate with his players really sets him apart. Wills success in base stealing that year led to another remarkable statistic, he was caught stealing just 13 times all season. Maury Wills (104) & Willie Davis (32) set an MLB record with the most stolen bases by 2 teammates with 136. Go, Maury… Still, Wills was only the third African-American to manage in the major leagues, after Frank Robinson and Larry Doby. He said he was going to make his second baseman, Julio Cruz, his permanent shortstop. Maury Wills. Throughout most of his major league playing career, Wills supplemented his salary in the off-season by performing extensively as a vocalist and instrumentalist (on banjo, guitar and ukelele), appearing occasionally on television and frequently in night clubs. After another downward-trending season in 1966 he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates. Wills totaled 208 hits and 130 runs scored, and he also led the league with 10 triples. In the 1963 World Series, he went 2-for-16 for a .133 batting average with one stolen base. 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 a short interview appearing in the June 5, 2006 issue of Newsweek, Neyer said, "It wasn't just that Wills couldn't do the in-game stuff.  Perhaps this was due to greater media exposure in Los Angeles, or to the Dodgers' greater success, or to their extreme reliance on a low-scoring strategy that emphasized pitching, defense, and Wills' speed to compensate for their lack of productive hitters. Many thanks to him. Go! The reason there were 165 games in his 1962 season is because both the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants ended the 1962 season with identical win-loss records of 101-61. He ordered the Mariners' grounds crew to make the batter's boxes one foot longer than regulation. Wills missed getting elected by 3 votes. The charge was dismissed three months later on the grounds of insufficient evidence. As far as a guy who put in some real time (as a manager), I don't think there's been anyone close to Wills.". Wills was born in Washington, D.C. and went to high school there. All rights reserved. Member of 1966 National League Champion Los Angeles Dodgers team. Finished 17th in voting for 1960 National League MVP for leading League in Stolen Bases (50) and having .295 Batting Average (152 for 516), 75 Runs, 15 Doubles, 2 Triples, 27 RBI, 35 Walks, .342 On-base percentage, .331 Slugging Percentage, 171 Total Bases, 3 Sacrifice Hits, 2 Sacrifice Flies and 8 Intentional Walks in 148 Games. However, Pee Wee Reese was the Dodgers' regular shortstop through 1956 and then Charlie Neal and Don Zimmer won the job in 1957-1959. 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. Both stolen base records would be broken in 1974 by Lou Brock's 118 steals; Brock had broken Cobb's stolen base record by stealing his 97th base before his St. Louis Cardinals had completed their 154th game.. In setting the mark for stolen bases in 1962, Wills avoided the "asterisk" controversy that surrounded Roger Maris when he hit 61 home runs in 1961 to top Babe Ruth's 60 in 1927, but with the schedule advantage of eight more games.  Wills let it be known he felt qualified to pilot a big-league club. With Wes Parker (first base), Jim Lefebvre (second base) and Jim Gilliam (third base), Wills was part of perhaps baseball's first all switch-hitting infield. Wills remained with the team for the rest of the season as a backup, and was released in late October. The winner of the MVP was Davis's teammate Maury Wills, who set the all-time Dodger record of 104 stolen bases. The games were replayed later, but the players' statistics from the tied games were counted. Years later, Wills admitted he probably should have gotten some seasoning as a minor-league manager prior to being hired in Seattle. The Giants held the lead for the last time on July 7.  He also cut at least two records during this period—one under his own name, the other as featured vocalist with Lionel Hampton. After spending the previous four seasons at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, they began the season by opening Dodger Stadium, the team's new ballpark.  However, with seven games remaining the Dodgers were still ahead in the league by four games, and later held a two-game lead with three left to play. Due to a salacious anecdote in Wills' autobiography, the two had a falling out, but as of 2004 would occasionally speak.. 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.. He was a rarity, a banjo hitter who also played the instrument. west coast orange and black. Wills batted first in the lineup for the inaugural game of the Expos on April 8, 1969. On June 11, he was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers along with Manny Mota to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Ron Fairly and Paul Popovich.
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