Dodgers shortstop Maury Wills dies

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Maury Wills, who caused panic among pitchers with his ability to steal bases as a shortstop for the Los Angeles Dodgers teams that won three World Series championships, has died. He was 89 years old.

Wills died Monday night at his residence in Sedona, Arizona, the team said Tuesday after being notified by family. The cause of death was not disclosed.

The player was part of teams that established themselves in the World Series in 1959, 1963 and 1965 during his first eight seasons with the Dodgers. He also played for Pittsburgh and Montreal before returning to the Dodgers between 1969 and 1972, when he retired.

During a 14-year career, Wills batted .281 with 2,134 hits and 586 stolen bases in 1,942 games.

He broke Ty Cobb’s record for his 97th steal of the 1962 season on September 23. In that campaign, he became the first player to commit more than 100 robberies.

The Dodgers honored Wills with a moment of silence before Game 1 of a doubleheader against the Arizona Diamondbacks. They also showed some of his best plays on the stadium’s video screens.

All members of the club will wear a patch in memory of Wills for the rest of the season.

Manager Dave Roberts, an outfielder during his 10-year playing career in the majors, was moved to tears as he recalled the impact Wills had on him.

“He was a friend, a father, a mentor, all of that to me, so this is very hard,” he said. β€œHe just showed me how to appreciate my talent, he showed me how to be a major league player. He loved teaching. I think a lot of my excitement, my passion, my love for the players, is something I owe to Maury.”

In 1962, Wills was proclaimed the National League’s Most Valuable Player and led the National League in stolen bases from 1960 to 1965. He was also an All-Star seven times and won the Gold Glove in 1961 and 1962.

After retiring with the Dodgers in 1972, Wills worked as an analyst for NBC for five years. He also coached in winter baseball with a team from the Pacific League, winning a championship with the Naranjeros de Hermosillo in the 1970-71 season.

Wills had an unsuccessful stint as manager of the Seattle Mariners between 1980 and 1981, with 26 wins and 56 losses.

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