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Maury Wills considered best ‘late bloomer’ shortstop ever

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Maury Wills with Head Turned

Thomas Harrigan of ranked the best late bloomer in MLB history from every position. For the shortstop position, Harrigan gave the honor to Maury Wills, who spent the first eight seasons of his career with the Dodgers. Wills, who ultimately spent 12 total seasons with the Dodgers, was a seven-time All-Star, two-time Gold Glove Award winner and most importantly the 1962 National League Most Valuable Player.

Wills signed with the Dodgers as a teenager prior to the 1951 season, but he didn’t make his MLB debut until he was 26 years old in ’59. Although the speedster struggled in his rookie year, he was an MVP by his fourth season, recording 208 hits, 104 steals and 130 runs in 1962. Wills earned All-Star selections in 1961, ’62, ’63, ’65 and ’66 and was the first-ever All-Star Game MVP in ’62. He finished his career with 2,134 hits and ranks 20th all time with 586 steals.

Los Angeles Dodgers Photo by Focus on Sport via Getty Images

For the most part, Wills’ career got off to a pretty hot start once he made the big leagues. He finished 17th in MVP voting during his second season and led the league with 50 stolen bases. However, when he won the MVP, Wills was already 29 years old. So, age wise, technically he was a late bloomer. But early on into his career, Wills showed that he was capable of being the best shortstop in baseball.

It really makes you wonder, how in the world did it take him so long to get called up? It also makes you wonder how much better a career he could have had, had he been called up a few years earlier.


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