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 was 89.
No cause of death was given.
Wills was part of the Dodgers’ World Series-winning teams in his rookie season of 1959 and in 1963 and 1965.
He spent 14 years in the major leagues – 12 of those seasons with the Dodgers. He was the 1962 National League Most Valuable Player when he led the league with a then-major league record 104 stolen bases, besting Ty Cobb’s 1915 season of 96 stolen bases.
The shortstop won two Gold Gloves and was an All-Star seven times.
Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, who wears the number 30 in honor of Wills, according to the Dodgers website, said, “I know he passed peacefully, and I am going to have a heavy heart. Maury was very impactful to me personally, professionally. He’s going to be missed. This one is tough for me.”
Dodgers team president and CEO Stan Kasten also discussed Wills’ impact, in particular regarding his prowess for stealing bases. Wills remains the Dodgers record-holder for most bases stolen with 490. All told, he stole 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 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.”
Wills led the National League in steals in each season from 1960 to 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 lucky to have had someone like Maury Wills,” the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association tweeted.
Wills last year was named to the National Baseball Hall of Fame’s Golden Area Committee ballot, but was not selected.