Maury Wills, whose base-stealing for the Los Angeles Dodgers helped them win three world titles, died Monday at his family home in Sedona, Arizona, according to the team. Wills turned 89.
No cause of death was given.
Wills was a winning team in the Dodgers’ World Series in his rookie seasons in 1959, 1963 and 1965.
He spent 14 years in the major leagues – 12 of them with the Dodgers. He was the National League’s most valuable player in 1962 when he led the league with a then major league record 104 stolen bases, beating Ty Cobb’s 96 stolen bases in 1915.
The shortstop won two Gold Gloves and was an All-Star seven times.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, who wears the number 30 in Wills’ honor according to the Dodgers website, said: “I know he passed away peacefully and it will be with a heavy heart. Maury has had a huge impact on me personally and professionally. He will be missed. That’s hard for me.”
Stan Kasten, President and CEO of the Dodgers team, also spoke about Will’s influence, particularly in relation to his ability to steal bases. Wills remains the record holder for most stolen bases with 490 Dodgers. All told, he has stolen 586 bases in his career, the 10th most in MLB history.
“Maury Wills was one of the most exciting Dodgers of all time,” Kasten said. “He changed baseball with his base running and made stolen base an important part of the game. He was very instrumental in the Dodgers’ success with three world championships.”
Wills led the National League in steals every season from 1960 through 1965 when he stole 94 bases.
Wills also played for the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Montreal Expos, and managed the Seattle Mariners for two seasons.
“Our game is fortunate to have someone like Maury Wills,” the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association tweeted.
Wills was named to the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s Golden Area Committee election last year, but was not selected.