Maury Wills, The First All-Star MVP

Maury Wills had a year to remember in 1962. He was in his third year as a starting shortstop for the Dodgers, and at 29 was coming into his own at the plate and more importantly, on the bases. That year was the fourth and final season that MLB held two All-Star Games, a way to raise money for the players pension fund. Wills was actually picked to start the All-Star Game -- well, both All-Star Games -- in 1961, but in 1962 Wills was an All-Star reserve.

Wills was hitting .281/.329/.345 through 89 games at the time of the first All-Star Game in 1962, which was held at D.C. Stadium, home of the Senators. What was captivating about Wills in 1962 was that he also had 46 stolen bases in those 89 games, and was caught just five times. This was a huge deal back then. In the previous 30 seasons, there were only eight 50-steal seasons in MLB, including Wills himself in 1960. Since Ty Cobb set the stolen base record with 96 thefts in 1915, the most steals anyone had in a single season was 68, and the 60-steal mark had been eclipsed just five times.

As for the All-Star Game in D.C., MLB.com has the details:

The Dodgers' speedy shortstop entered the game in the sixth to pinch-run for Stan Musial (making his 23rd All-Star appearance) and immediately stole second, then scored the game's first run on a single by Pirate Dick Groat. In the eighth, after getting on with a single, he rounded second on a hit by the Giants' Jim Davenport, and with the throw sailing towards second base, sped down to third, where he then scored on a foul pop.

1962 happened to be the first year that an All-Star MVP was awarded, and Wills took home the first award, scoring two runs in the National League's 3-1 win. Wills would go on to break Cobb's record that season, swiping 104 bases and only getting caught 13 times. The All-Star MVP wasn't the only MVP won in 1962 by Wills, who also took home NL MVP honors, narrowly beating Willie Mays in one of the closest votes ever.

Wills would be named in All-Star seven times, in five different years, but none was more memorable than winning the very first All-Star Game MVP award in 1962.

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