Maury Wills, Los Angeles Dodgers Legend, Dead at 89

Maury Wills, a legendary MLB shortstop who spent the majority of his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers, died on Monday, according to the Associated Press. He was 89 years old. Wills died at his home in Sedona, Arizona, the team said after being informed by family members. The cause of death was not announced. 

Wills played for the Dodgers from 1959 to 1966 and again from 1969 to 1972. He played for three World Series title teams in 1959, 1963 and 1965 during his first eight seasons with the team before spending time with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Montreal Expos (now Washington Nationals). He was named to the All-Star team seven times, won the NL MVP Award in 1962 and was the NL stolen base leader six times. In 1962, Wills broke Ty Cobb's single-season record for steams with his 97th swipe in September of that year.

"Maury Wills was one of the most exciting Dodgers of all time," Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten said. "He changed baseball with his baserunning 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." 

"He was a friend, a father, a mentor — all of the above for me, so this is a tough one for me,'' Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said. "He just kind of showed me to appreciate my craft, showed me how to be a big leaguer. He just loved to teach. I think a lot of where I get my excitement, my passion, my love for players is from Maury." 

Wills finished his career with a .281 batting average, 2,134 hits, and 586 stolen bases in 1,942 games. When he retired in 1972, Willis worked as an analyst for NBC for five years. He also was a manager in the Mexican Pacific League and would then become the manager of the Seattle Mariners in 1980. He was fired as manager early in the 1981 season and finished with a 26-56 career record. 

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In 2004, Willis talked about how he wanted to be in the Baseball Hall of Fame. "Every player hopes to manage, and I got to do that," Wills said, per MLB.com. "The last and ultimate would be to make the Hall of Fame. I thought of that during my playing days and used that to keep me motivated and improve to make me better."