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Maury Wills, a former MLB infielder who played for the Los Angeles Dodgers for most of his career, died Monday night at his home in Arizona. He was 89.
No cause of death was immediately announced.
Wills played in the majors for 14 seasons and managed the Seattle Mariners for two more. He played for the Dodgers from 1959 to 1966 and again from 1970 to 1972. He played for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Montreal Expos as well.
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Wills led the National League in stolen bases from 1960 to 1965. He won the MVP award in 1962 when he batted .299 with 10 triples, 104 stolen bases and 48 RBI. He had 208 hits that season as well. His stolen-base total broke Ty Cobb’s mark.
Additionally, Wills was a seven-time All-Star, three-time World Series winner and a 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 very instrumental in the success of the Dodgers with three world championships.”
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Wills’ managerial run with the Mariners was criticized as he lacked the experience. He later admitted that his time in the dugout didn’t exactly go as planned and probably should have gotten more experience as a minor league manager before getting to the big leagues.
Wills also credited pitching great Don Newcombe with helping him battle addiction and getting 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 trying to help me, and I just couldn’t understand that. But he persevered, he wouldn’t give in, and my life is wonderful today because of Don Newcombe.”
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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.