Longtime Dodgers speedster Maury Wills was named to the “Legends of Dodger Baseball,” which honors players in the franchise for both on and off-field work. Wills will be honored in absentia before Saturday’s game against the Reds.
Wills is the fourth member to be honored in “Legends of Dodger Baseball,” which includes a plaque and display in the centerfield plaza area of Dodger Stadium. The other three members — Don Newcombe, Steve Garvey, and Fernando Valenzuela — were so honored in 2019.
This is separate from the ring of honor, plaques the 10 retired numbers plus announcers Vin Scully and Jaime Jarrín, which are displayed on the base of the club level down the left field line. Eleven of those 12 are Hall of Famers, and will be joined by Gil Hodges this summer, with the exception of Jim Gilliam, whose number 19 was retired after he died suddenly in 1978.
Wills was on the same golden era committee ballot that elected Hodges in December, but received three or fewer votes from the 16-member panel.
Wills made his major league debut at age 26 and was a part of four Dodgers World Series teams (1959, 1963, 1965, 1966) and three championship winners. The switch-hitting shortstop led the National League in stolen bases in each of his first six seasons (1960-65), including a record 104 steals in 1962.
That was the first year of Dodger Stadium, and Wills ran wild that year, thanks in part to 208 hits and 51 walks, and scored 130 runs in a season Tommy Davis hit third and won a batting title, driving in a franchise-record 153 runs. Davis drove in Wills 29 different times that season.
Wills in 1962 hit .299/.347/.373, led the league with 10 triples, and because of the three-game playoff with the Giants set a record for games played in a season (165) that might never be broken.
He made the All-Star Game in five seasons, and won two Gold Glove Awards.
Wills played 12 of his 14 seasons with the Dodgers, and is the franchise all-time leader in stolen bases (490).
Saturday also marks a giveaway of a Maury Wills bobblehead to the first 40,000 fans at Dodger Stadium.