Maury Wills, ex-Dodgers awesome and 1962 MVP, dead at 89

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Maury Wills, a former MLB infielder who played most of his career for the Los Angeles Dodgers, died Monday night at his home in Arizona. He was 89.

No cause of death was immediately announced.

Wills played 14 seasons in the majors and led the Seattle Mariners for two more seasons. He played for the Dodgers from 1959 to 1966 and again from 1970 to 1972. He also played for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Montreal Expos.

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Former Los Angeles Dodgers great Maury Wills is screened for Game 2 of the NLDS against the St. Louis Cardinals in Los Angeles on October 4, 2014.

Former Los Angeles Dodgers great Maury Wills is screened for Game 2 of the NLDS against the St. Louis Cardinals in Los Angeles on October 4, 2014.
(AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, file)

Wills led the National League in stolen bases from 1960 to 1965. He won the MVP award in 1962 when he hit .299 with 10 triples, 104 stolen bases and 48 RBI. He also had 208 hits that season. His total stolen bases broke Ty Cobb’s goal.

In addition, Wills was a seven-time All-Star, three-time World Series winner and two-time Gold Glove recipient.

“Maury Wills was one of the most exciting Dodgers of all time,” team president and CEO Stan Kasten said in a statement. “He changed baseball with his base-running and made the stolen base an important part of the game. He was instrumental in the success of the Dodgers with three world championships.”

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Maury Wills of the Los Angeles Dodgers slides home safely past John Romano of the Cleveland Indians during the eighth inning of the All-Star Game in Washington on July 10, 1962.

Maury Wills of the Los Angeles Dodgers slides home safely past John Romano of the Cleveland Indians during the eighth inning of the All-Star Game in Washington on July 10, 1962.
(AP Photo/File)

Wills’ management run with the Mariners was criticized for lacking the experience. He later admitted that his time in the dugout didn’t exactly go as planned and that he probably should have gained more experience as a minor league manager before moving on to the major leagues.

Wills also wrote that he pitched the amazing Don Newcombe to help him fight addiction and get sober in 1989.

“I’m standing here with the man who saved my life,” he said of Newcombe. “He was a channel for God’s love for me because he chased me all over Los Angeles to help me, and I just couldn’t understand that. But he persevered, he didn’t give in, and my life is great today because of Don Newcombe.”

FILE - Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Maury Wills is shown on March 27, 1962.

FILE – Los Angeles Dodgers infielder Maury Wills is shown on March 27, 1962.
(AP photo)

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Wills is survived by his wife, Carla, and children Barry, Micki, Bump, Anita, Susan Quam and Wendi Jo Wills.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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