Maurice Morning Wills was born on October 2, 1932 in Washington, D.C. Maury, as he was more commonly known, was signed to the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1951. He spent many years in the minor leagues before coming up to the Dodgers, who had moved to Los Angeles in 1959. He played in 83 games in that regular season and an additional 6 more when the Dodgers played in the 1959 World Series.
On September 23, 1962, Wills broke Ty Cobb's record of 97 stolen bases in one year. He went on to lead the National League in stolen bases for six straight seasons (from 1960-1965.) He has a lifetime total of 585 stolen bases. Wills seemed to be a constant threat to pitchers - even if the didn't try to steal, there was the lingering anxiety that he may just attempt to at any second. Dodgers fans were known to chant, "Go! Go! Go, Maury, Go!" anytime he got on base.
After the 1966 season, Maury was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates. In the 1969 expansion draft, he was selected my the Montreal Expos. He was the starting shortstop and lead-off hitter in the Expos' first game ever played on April 8, 1969 at Shea Stadium. Shortly after, he was traded back to the Los Angeles Dodgers on June 11, 1969, not before stealing 15 bases for the Expos, which would remain the team record until Mike Jorgensen took the lead in 1973.
Maury finished up his career in Los Angeles from 1969-1972. After retiring, he spent time as a baseball analyst at NBC from 1973-1977. He also worked for a short (and unfortunately, unsuccessful) time as manager of the Seattle Mariners in 1980.
Additional Notable Achievements:
- 5-time NL All-Star (1961-1963, 1965, 1966)
- 1962 All-Star Game MVP
- 2-time NL Gold Glove Winner (1961 & 1962)
- 6-time NL Stolen Bases Leader (1960-1965)
- 50 Stolen Bases Seasons: 5 (1960, 1962, 1964, 1965 & 1968)
- 100 Stolen Bases Seasons: 1 (1962)
- 3 World Series Championships with the LA Dodgers (1959, 1963, 1965)
Check out this great footage from the 1962 All-Star Game, where Wills played for the National League and was voted All-Star Game MVP. John F. Kennedy throws out the first pitch...!