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Remembering The Great Maury Wills

September 21, 2022

It happens seemingly every day, some coincidence, a confluence of events and sadly amidst many and 4 days shy of 60 years since he broke Ty Cobb’s 47 year old record of 96 stolen bases in a season, the great player, Maury Wills, shamefully not in the Hall of Fame while on this deteriorating earth, died at age 89.

I guess you know a player (Aaron Judge) has become the third American League player, all playing for the New York Yankees, to hit as many as 60 home runs in a season and it probably deserves at least some of the hype (Jane Krakowski cited Judge in a recent Town Hall number) that has manifested.

That takes me back to September 23, 1962 when the great broadcaster Bob Murphy cited Maury breaking Ty’s record was as great as Roger Maris breaking Babe Ruth’s hallowed one season home run mark the year before.

Wills played on 3 L.A. Dodgers’ title teams, sparking them upon “call up” in 1959 and as a superb regular shortstop in both 1963 and 1966.

In the ’65 World Series in no game did a team with the lead after a full inning, lose a game. Maury helped, “keyed?” and certainly started the Dodgers on the way to the all important lead, (remember L.A. had brilliant pitching with Sandy Koufax and Don Drysdale in those games. Claude Osteen had turned the World Series around with a shutout win in #3) in both games 4 and 5.

Speaking of Sandy Koufax and this is sharper focus as I watched “The U.S. and the Holocaust” last night, he and Maury read each other’s hate mail, applying humor to a sad, horrible reality regarding prejudice in this world and in the land of the ….. as Sandy is Jewish and Maury’s skin was darker than white.

Maury had impact and you could not write the history of baseball in his era without citing him. That is not true regarding Jim Kaat and even Pedro “Tony” Oliva, each of whom unlike Maury, made the watered down “Hall” while alive, something Mr. Wills will never gain.

Oh let me go see another middle of the game gambling ad sanctioned and encouraged by baseball while they still deny Pete Rose entry into the aforementioned “shrine” in Cooperstown, New York.

Finally putting some of the vitriol aside, Maury was an integral part of baseball glory and led the way for Lou Brock, Tim Raines, all-time stolen base king, Rickey Henderson and Maury contemporary, Luis Aparicio, as he put the stolen base back in baseball.



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