Maury Wills (born October 2, 1932 in Washington, DC) is a former Major League Baseball shortstop and switch-hitting batter who played most prominently with the Los Angeles Dodgers (1959-66, 1969-72), and also with the Pittsburgh Pirates (1967-68) and Montreal Expos (1969). He was an essential component of the Dodgers' championship teams in the mid-1960's, and deserves much credit for reviving the stolen base as part of baseball strategy.
In his first-full season (1960), Wills hit .295 and led the league with 50 stolen bases, being the first NL player to do it since Max Carey stole 51 in 1923. Wills stole 104 bases in 1962 to establish a new record in baseball, breaking the old mark of 96, set by Ty Cobb in 1915. Besides this, he hit .299, led the league in triples (10), and was selected the NL Most Valuable Player (beating out Willie Mays by seven points).
Although Luis Aparicio had been stealing 50+ bases in the American League for several years prior to Wills' insurgence, Wills brought new prominence to the tactic. Perhaps this was due to greater media exposure in Los Angeles, or to the Dodgers' greater success, or to their extreme reliance on a low-scoring strategy that emphasized pitching, defense, and Wills' speed to compensate for their lack of productive hitters. Wills was a significant distraction to the pitcher even if he didn't try to steal, because he was a constant threat to do so. The fans at Dodger Stadium would chant, "Go! Go! Go!" anytime he got on base.
A winner of the Gold Glove Award in 1961 and 1962, Wills was selected five times for the All-Star Game. After retiring, he managed the Seattle Mariners (1980-81).
In 14-seasons career, Wills batted .281 with 20 home runs, 458 RBI, 2134 hits, 1067 runs, 177 doubles, 71 triples, and 586 stolen bases in 1942 games.
5-time All-Star (1961-63, 1965-66) MVP (1962) Twice Gold Glove (1961-62) 6-time led league in stolen bases (1960-65) Led league in triples (1962) 7th MLB player to hit home runs from each side of the plate in a game (1962) Won the Hickok Belt award (1962)