Maury Wills - Hall of Fame Bound
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Hall Of Fame Background


Special thanks to Andrew Guilford for the following commentary!

ACT NOW TO GET MAURY WILLS INTO THE HALL OF FAME!

HALL OF FAME UPDATE! If you are interested in getting Maury Wills into the Hall of Fame (and we hope we're right in thinking you are), NOW is the time to act. In the three Veterans Committee votes since 2003, Maury has been among the leading vote getters, and among those who have increased their votes the most. If you want to help, here's what you can do:
  1. VOICE YOUR SUPPORT TO THE VETERANS COMMITTEE. The Hall of Fame web- site says "Fans wishing to voice their opinion in support of their favorite candidates may do so in two ways: by sending a single letter to Hall of Fame Veterans Committee, 25 Main Street, Cooperstown, NY 13326, or by logging on to http://www.baseballhalloffame.org and sending an e-mail."
  2. PASS ON THIS INFORMATION to all the baseball fans you know!
  3. SIGN THE HALL OF FAME PETITION by clicking here!
  4. IF YOU HAVE ACCESS TO THE MEDIA, TELL THE STORY!
If you're not yet convinced, review the following irrefutable arguments, and then do the four things above!

MAURY WILLS, HALL OF FAME SHORTSTOP

After he broke Ty Cobb's 47 year-old stolen base record by stealing an incredible 104 bases in 1962, Maury Wills was often referred to as a "Future Hall of Famer." He was generally thought to be the very best shortstop of his time, appearing on 7 All-Star Game rosters. In 1962, he was thought to be the best player in all baseball, winning the National League Most Valuable Player award, and other awards among those listed below. His lifetime batting average is higher than many Hall of Fame middle infielders. For example, his average is 21 points higher than Bill Mazeroski, 19 points higher than Luis Aparicio and Ozzie Smith, 12 points higher than Pee Wee Reese, and 8 points higher than Phil Rizzuto. Most dramatically, his place in the Hall of Fame is revealed by the following chart, which shows his statistics alone compare favorably with other Hall Of Fame middle infielders playing near his time.

Player Batting Average Runs Stolen Bases Hits MVP Awards Gold Gloves Pennants WS Champ
Wills .281 1067 586 2134 1 2 4 3
Aparicio .262 1335 506 2677 0 9 2 1
Reese .269 1338 232 2170 0 0 7 1
Rizutto .273 877 149 1588 1 0 9 7
Fox .288 1279 76 2663 1 3 1 0
Mazeroski .260 769 27 2016 0 8 3 2
O. Smith .262 1257 580 2460 0 13 3 1
Sandburg .286 1318 344 2386 1 9 0 1

MAURY WILLS, CHOICE OF EXPERTS

During his playing days, and over the last three decades, Maury Wills has been viewed by baseball experts as a Hall of Fame shortstop. Joe Morgan regularly states that Maury deserves to be in the Hall, and Joe has been joined by Lou Brock and Orlando Cepeda supporting Maury's election to the Hall. As recently as February 16, 2007, Justice B. Hill of MLB.com said, "Not since Babe Ruth in the 1920's had one player changed the game of baseball the way Dodgers shortstop Maury Wills did in the 1960s. . . . [His] credentials should earn him a plaque in Cooperstown." On December 6, 2006, Bruce Jenkins said he repeatedly voted for Maury's election, and that Maury was "just as influential as Willie Mays, Henry Aaron or Juan Marichal." On July 13, 2006, Steve Bisheff wrote that "plenty of us" think Maury should "be in the Hall of Fame". In July 2002, ESPN.com carried an article calling for Maury's election because he changed the game, and in 2003 and 2004, Ross Newhan, in the Los Angeles Times, concurred. Here is a sample of what baseball experts like Joe Morgan, Jackie Robinson, and Tom Seaver have said over the years.

"Here's a fast fact for you: Wills should be in the Hall"
T.J. Simers, L.A. Times, February 27, 2007

"Not since Babe Ruth in the 1920's had one player changed the game of baseball the way Dodgers shortstop Maury Wills did in the 1960s. . . . [His] credentials should earn him a plaque in Cooperstown."
Justice B. Hill, MLB.com, February 16, 2007


"It is an injustice that Maury Wills is not in baseball's Hall of Fame." Bill Werndl, XX Sports Radio, February 3, 2007

"Did he change the game? I always voted for Maury Wills for this reason, because Wills reintroduced the stolen base as an offensive weapon. Without Wills, it's likely Lou Brock and Rickey Henderson don't have the careers they had."
Jim Alexander, The Press-Enterprise, January 9, 2007

"I repeatedly voted for Maury Wills, for his baserunning changed the game in the early '60s. * * * I saw enough of Wills to realize he was just as influential as Willie Mays, Henry Aaron or Juan Marichal."
Bruce Jenkins, S.F. Chronicle, December 6, 2006

"Stick Maury Wills into the Hall of Fame. Nothing against those others who deserve to be in there like Gil Hodges, but Wills changed the fabric of baseball in 1962 when he broke Ty Cobb's stolen base record with 104. He wound up with 2,134 hits and 586 steals during his 14-year career, and played on four Dodger teams that won National League pennants and three that won the World Series. One of the fiercest competitors ever to play his sport."
Doug Krikorian, Long Beach Press Telegram, August 28, 2006

"If you are naming an all-time Los Angeles Dodgers team, Wills has to be the shortstop. And there are plenty of us who think he should also be in the Hall of Fame."
Steve Bisheff, Orange County Register, July 13, 2006

"[G]uys who revolutionize the game . . . always get extra consideration. [T]hat's why I used to vote for Maury Wills -- because more than anyone, he brought the steal back into the modern game."
Tom Gage, DetNews.com, July 31, 2006

"There should be automatic entry for anyone who changed the game: Babe Ruth, Jackie Robinson, even Maury Wills for his singular impact on the National League's style of play."
Bruce Jenkins, S.F. Chronicle, December 24, 2000

"Maury brought back the stolen base. He changed the dynamics of the game. You knew most home run hitters would hit a home run or strike out; you could just play your position. When Maury was on first base, you had to pay attention to him every pitch."
Joe Morgan, N.Y. Times, March 13, 2002

"Wills . . . restored the stolen base as an offensive weapon and deserves a niche in the Hall of Fame . . . ."
Ross Newhan, L.A. Times, May 2, 2004

"Maury Wills started a trend with his 104 steals in 1962. . . . Maury is a phenomenon of modern baseball. He is an all-time master at getting on and around the bases on his own momentum."
Jackie Robinson, Sport Magazine, 1966

"Lou Brock, along with Maury Wills, are probably the two players most responsible for the biggest change in the game over the last 15 years - the stolen base."
Tom Seaver, 1987

"The Hall of Fame should be made up of the very best of three types of players: those who were great leaders, those who dominated their era statistically, and those who 'changed the game.' By those criteria, Maury Wills, despite just 20 career homers (Ozzie got there with 28) was considered a Hall of Fame-caliber player during his career, should have been in the Hall a decade ago, and, with the inclusion of Rizzuto, Aparicio and now Ozzie Smith, might be even more deserving now."
Bob Stevens, ESPN.com, July 23, 2002

"[I]t will now take a Veterans' Committee push to induct [Maury] into his rightful spot in the Hall of Fame."
Bill Plaschke, L.A. Times, September 22, 2002

"What am I doing in a Hall of Fame if Maury Wills or Enos Slaughter can't get in one?"
Hall of Fame Journalist Jim Murray, April 6, 1978

"In perhaps the biggest error in baseball, the sportswriters failed to vote Maury into the Hall of Fame. Now it is up to the Veterans Committee to remedy the mistakes. * * * His numbers compare favorably to . . . [Hall of Famers] Pee Wee Reese and Phil Rizzuto. And Wills fits the most important criteria: If he played the game, would it be different? The answer is yes. He was a very unique player who changed the game and should be honored for it."
Jeff Torborg, FOXSports.com, July 13, 2000

"What player deserves to be in the Hall . . .? One that immediately comes to mind is an old teammate of mine in Los Angeles. Maury Wills."
Al Downing, FOXSports.com, July 13, 2000

"While active, I think it was generally assumed that Wills was a Hall of Fame-caliber player. . . . He was a smart player, and, as a Gold Glove winner, .300 hitter and base-stealing champion on an outstanding team, a player with too many positives to be lightly dismissed."
Bill James, Historical Baseball Abstract, 1985, p. 372

"Here's a list of non-Hall of Famers, mostly players of the last five decades, who in their day were considered superstars: Gil Hodges, Phil Rizzuto . . . Maury Wills . . . Nellie Fox. . . . A strong case could be made that some of the shunned were better or as capable players as the incumbents."
George Vass, "These Greats Belong in the Hall of Fame", Baseball Digest, January 1981

"Wills belongs in the Hall of Fame with Mantle."
Allan Malamud, L.A. Times, August 14, 1995

"In the minds of those baseball writers who vote in the Hall of Fame elections, at least five old shortstops have disappeared -- Luis Aparicio, Harold (Pee Wee) Reese, Phil Rizzuto, Marty Marion, and Maury Wills. . . . Each of the forgotten five certainly deserve to be enshrined."
Dave Anderson, N.Y. Times, March 15, 1982

"People who grew up in California . . . lectured me that Wills was as skillful and as accomplished as certain other shortstops in the Hall. * * * Maury Wills is a Hall of Famer."
Mike Downey, L.A. Times, January 8, 1992

"I don't think [Rollie Fingers] deserves to make it ahead of . . . Maury Wills. . . . . Wills changed the entire structure of baseball in 1962 when he stole a then-unthinkable 104 bases and . . . he played on four Dodger pennant teams and three World Series winners and . . . he gathered 2,134 hits and . . . he always was at his best in crisis situations."
Doug Krikorian

"Maury Wills . . . deserves [making the Hall of Fame] as much as some who might and more than some who have."
Jim Murray, L.A. Times, January 10, 1988

"There is at least one player at each position whose statistics stack up to the game's greats but who, for one reason or another, have been left out of Cooperstown. We've assembled an all-star team - by position - of players who aren't in the Hall but whose play warrants it. * * * Shortstop -- Maury Wills, Dodgers (1959-72). He was the offensive catalyst on teams that reached the World Series four times and won three of them."
Fred McMane, "Hall of Fame Voters Bypassed these Stars - Would You?", The Baseball Journal, July 23, 2002

Hall of Famer Joe Tinker's "credentials for the Hall of Fame are as good as, and no better than, those of Pee Wee Reese . . . and Maury Wills."
Bill James, Historical Baseball Abstract, 1985, p. 370

"If I had a vote, my 10, using the history theory, would be Hodges . . . Wills . . . and Martin."
Dave Anderson, N.Y. Times, December 13, 2002

"It's time for Maury Wills, who revolutionized the stolen base, to be elected to the Hall of Fame."
Allan Malamud, L.A. Herald Examiner, November 30, 1987

"I still believe Hodges, Santo and the game-changing Wills are deserving of induction, as I did during their years of eligibility on the BBWAA ballot."
Ross Newhan, L.A. Times, January 3, 2003

MAURY WILLS, REVOLUTIONIZER OF BASEBALL

When Maury Wills stole 104 bases in 1962, he revolutionized the game, and made it much more interesting. Incredibly, Maury got caught only 13 times while breaking the record of Cobb who had gotten caught 38 times in stealing 96 bases in 1915! True fans of baseball know its great beauty lies in its inner game of using strategy and skill around the base paths to turn runners into runs. In the fifties, baseball had moved away from this inner game looking to power over speed. Maury brought back to baseball, single-handedly, the beauty of base running. As Sandy Koufax liked to say, "Before Maury it was just a bunch of slow white guys playing." The following chart shows the total number of stolen bases in the National League from 1950 to 1970. Maury entered the Majors in 1959, and broke the Major League stolen base record in 1962. That is exactly when the stolen base totals of the National League began to spike upwards. The year before Maury entered the Majors, the National League had a total of 388 stolen bases. In 1962, Maury Wills alone stole over 25% of the league total for the year before he made the Majors.

Year SB
1970 1045
1969 817
1968 704
1967 694
1966 737
1965 745
1964 636
1963 684
1962 788 <= Wills breaks record--SB totals explode
1961 468
1960 501
1959 439
1958 388
1957 399
1956 371
1955 377
1954 337
1953 342
1952 396
1951 453
1950 372

MAURY WILLS, CHAMPION

As noted, Maury Wills came up to the Dodgers in 1959 and immediately helped them win the Pennant and the World Series that year. In the short period between 1959 and 1966, Maury helped the Dodgers win 4 Pennants and 3 Championships. They missed another Pennant and possible World Series by one pitch in the third game of the 1962 playoff with the Giants. (Maury did all he could to win that third game, stealing 3 bases, setting the National League stolen base record at 104, and going 4 for 5.) Most people think post season play is important in electing Hall of Famers, and Maury certainly fits the bill. Fairness should also be a factor. The Giants from 1959 to 1966 won no World Series and only one Pennant (by that same one pitch in the 1962 playoff). Yet that Giant team now has 5 players in the Hall of Fame: the magnificent Mays (who came in second to Wills in the 1962 MVP voting), the majestic Marichal, the mighty McCovey, Perry, and Cepeda (who publicly has stated that Maury belongs in the Hall). The dominant Dodger team from that era has only 2 players in the Hall: Koufax and Drysdale (Snider and Sutton were only involved on the margins of the 1959 - 1966 period). Fairness demands that this great Dodger team have at least one more player in the Hall compared to the 5 players of their Giant contemporaries, and Maury Wills is the player most obviously a part of that dominant Dodger team, playing a major role in all seasons during the dominant run from 1959 to 1966.

MAURY WILLS, BASEBALL AMBASSADOR TO THE WEST COAST

After Major League baseball moved to the West in 1958, Maury soon became the "original" L.A. Dodger superstar on the West Coast as the central focus of excitement that riveted a star-studded Los Angeles to baseball's beauty. That's why in 2002, fans voted Maury to be the "most exciting Dodger player in Dodger Stadium history." Maury's running style and intelligent, engaging personality captivated everyone from the biggest entertainment stars to the man on the street in Los Angeles and indeed, around the country. And with this excitement came championships! The Dodgers finished next to last in 1958, the year the club moved to Los Angeles. The next season, they won the World Series! The principal difference between the seventh place team and the one that won it all was Maury Wills. Everyone else on the roster (except Wally Moon, coming in a trade from St. Louis and helping to stabilize the Dodgers) had been on the team when it came from Brooklyn. Those living in L.A. in the early sixties know that Maury Wills brought the excitement and championships that made L.A. one of the most successful baseball franchises, setting incredible attendance records. It is impossible to overstate Maury's importance to the new L.A. Dodger franchise, and thus to baseball itself. He was the exciting difference between a team near the cellar and a team winning championships--lots of them. Maury has also been an ambassador for baseball by committing himself to a lifetime of community service for many different worthy causes.

MAURY WILLS, PROFESSOR OF THE GAME

Many students of baseball admire Maury Wills for his intelligent, thoughtful analysis of the game. Mr. Wills would sometimes purposely drop a pop up to the infield with a fast runner on first and a slow batter, thus brilliantly forcing the fast runner at second base, replacing him with the slow batter. Many who have watched baseball for many years have never seen this intelligent, intriguing play made by anyone other than Maury. His great knowledge of the game made Maury Wills the third black manager in the Majors.

MAURY WILLS, INSPIRING PERSONALITY

Maury's life is a story of determination. After lingering in the Minors for 8 1/2 years, he made himself a Major Leaguer through perseverance and dedication. Central in this process was learning to switch hit, under the guidance of Bobby Bragan, at a difficult time in the middle of his career. That same intensiveness is probably what created his addiction problem, and then allowed him to overcome that challenge as well. Maury has also given hope to many by showing that there is a place in baseball for smaller players who work hard and play hard and smart. The 1961 baseball season was all about the power hitters Mantle and Maris chasing Ruth's record of 60 homers. Almost overnight, in 1962, Maury turned the nation's attention to a smaller player chasing Cobb's stolen base record. Thus today, it has been said that baseball, unlike football and basketball, is open to players of average or even diminutive size!

MAURY WILLS, GOLD GLOVE SHORTSTOP

As a shortstop, Maury Wills combined the speed of a sprinter and the quickness of a base stealer. Maury began his career as a pitcher, so he added a great arm to his speed and quickness. The result was a shortstop with great intelligence, great range, and a great arm. Twice he won Gold Glove Awards.

MAURY WILLS, AWARD WINNER

Over the years, even up to 2002, Maury has been honored with countless awards. The following is just a partial listing.
  • Set all time record for stolen bases with 104 in 1962
  • 1961 winner of the Gold Glove Award
  • 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, & 1965 leader in stolen bases
  • 1961 Sporting News Outstanding National League Shortstop
  • 1962 National League Most Valuable Player
  • 1962 Sporting News Outstanding National League Shortstop
  • 1962 Hickok Belt winner as the Pro Athlete of the Year
  • 1962 Sporting News Major League Player of the Year
  • 1962 Sport Magazine Man of the Year
  • 1962 Associated Press Athlete of the Year
  • 1962 winner of the Gold Glove Award
  • 1962 Frederick Miller trophy as Top Male Athlete of 1962
  • 1965 Sporting News Outstanding National League Shortstop
  • Tied NL record for most years (4) leading league in singles
  • Named Outstanding Citizen of Spokane Washington
  • Received Sid Mercer Award, New York Chapter, BBWAA
  • Selected to 7 All Star Games
  • 1962 All Star Game Most Valuable Player
  • 1971 Major League Shortstop of the Year
  • First $100,000-a-year shortstop
  • In 1962, was 1 hit short of 1922 shortstop hits record
  • Was 1 at bat short of season record for at bats in 1962
  • Tied for league lead in triples in 1962
  • Set record, most regular season games played, 165 in 1962
  • Hit homers from both sides of the plate in 1 game
  • Led NL shortstops in game assists & total chances in 1965
  • In 1965 World Series, tied record with 4 hits in 1 game
  • In 1965 World Series, Game 5, tied shortstop record by starting 3 DP's
  • In 2002 voted "most exciting Dodger player in Dodger Stadium history"

MAURY WILLS, THE COMPLETE PACKAGE (PASS IT ON!)

For all these reasons and more, Maury Wills belongs in the Hall of Fame, and YOU can help by doing the four things noted above.

--30--
 
 
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Did you know Maury

-was the first person to steal over 100 bases in a season, with 104 in 1962

-was the 1961 & 1962 winner of the Gold Glove Award

-was the 1960, 1961, 1962, 1963, 1964, & 1965 leader in stolen bases

-was the 1962 National League Most Valuable Player