Black History Month: Maury Wills

February is Black History Month so I thought I honored a few Dodgers for their contribution on the field and off the field. 

Let’s start with Maury Wills. 

His perceverence paid off!  Maury emerged from the Washington D.C. projects.  He was one of 13 siblings, he went without shoes for much of his childhood.  He spent eight years in the minors before joining the Major Leauge club.  He’d go on to win an MVP award, two Gold Gloves,be named to five All-Star Games and lead the NL insteals six times

Go! Go! Go!   In September 23, 1962, Dodger shortstop Maury Wills broke Ty cobb’s record of 96 stolen bases in one season.  Dodger Stadium would erupt in 
maury-wills 2.jpg
chant  of “Go! Go!’ whenever h
e was on the basepaths.  The exciting Wills ended up with 104 bases swipes and woudl go on to win the National League MVP

Maury became the manager of the Mariners but after he got fired in 1981,  he turned to alcohol and drugs.

Maury credits God, and the Dodgers, for saving his life. His personal angel was another Dodger legend, Don Newcombe. Alcohol had ruined Newcombe’s brilliant career 20 years earlier. When he got sober, Newk set about saving others.


Thumbnail image for Maury 049.jpgMaury continues to work with the Dodgers spending time as an instructor for the Dodgers and their minor leaguers in spring training and during the season.

He contributes not only to baseball but to help others make that cross to sobriety.  

Last year I attended the RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities)dinner where Maury Wills was given   the organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award. 

At the dinner, my friend Erik and I chanted “Go! Go! Go!  when Maury’s name was announced!   Larry King commented “There is your fan club Maury!”. 

 

I do wish his number would be retired at Dodger Stadium.   We Love you Maury! 

ref: maurywills.com, dodgers.com

Next: Don Newcombe

13 Comments

Is that the “Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities” RBI? Great program!
Good to see Maury Wills get his due.

Greg!
I failed to put that in there but I updated post! Thanks! Wish his number was retired at Dodger Stadium!

what a very nice person Maury Wills is.I wont forget the time he spoke to me in a very polite way saying to me ” how are you son “. By the way there is a show on FSN prime ticket call Dodgers legends and the past two weeks are showing Maury Wills , I bet you saw it,You dont missed a thing Emma.great post like always.

I heard a similar story from Dickie Noles yesterday…he said he too battled alcohol and now goes around helping others with the same problem. Great to see these guys use their own experiences as learning tools for others :O)

Jenn
http://philliesphollowers.mlblogs.com/

Bludog,
Oh yeah, Maury is always running around the stadium. One day I see him on the field, another day in the club level, Top deck and even at the entrance of the main parking lot. He gets around around a lot with those two wheels.
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Jen,
Is wonderful that they use their experience to help others! I’ll check your blog and see how the Bloomberg Fantasy event went.

Great pic of you and Maury, Emma. I agree his number should be retired. He was an amazing player.

http://janeheller.mlblogs.com

Thanks Jane! My friend Eric has a hat that says “Retire #30 Maury” Maury happen to be going by and I called him so he could checkout the hat.
.
Carol,
I ran into Maury in the parking lot a couple of times, right by the entrance. It was kinda of funny to find him there. Maybe he was waiting for someone that was being dropped off.
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Mike,
Thanks. Wish I would have seen him play but it was before I became a Dodger fan. that is the good thing of tapes.
.
I AM SO LOOKING FORWARD TO TOMORROW! Caravan baby! Chicken and Waffles here I come and also OLVERA Street for the rally!

Hey Emma!
Always nice to see and hear from Maury. Way back (and I mean WAY BACK) I saw Maury in the parking lot and got his autograph! What a nice guy he is!

Oh Emma, I was going to put this on your blog before, but I just forgot. Unfortunately, I’m not going to be able to make it to Roscoe’s, House of Chicken and Waffles tomorrow. Previous plans that I can’t get out of. Aw, nuts. And it looks like we’ll miss each other at ST too. Aw, nuts. We’ll just have to catch up with each other during the season!!! Can’t wait for Dodger Baseball!!! :)

Emma – Did you notice that you just time warped ahead of me? :) It alwys makes me chuckle that your time stamps are hours ahead of the real time. It does sound like you’re reading my mind!!! Have fun tomorrow! I’ll be there in spirit!

Muary Wills, Good Choice!

Carol,
Sorry we will miss you at the Caravan but let me know next time you are at the stadium or come up, you know where I sit!
I reported to Mark about the warping problem but I have not seen him posting lately. Maybe he went with the Marlins.
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Mike,
I picked Maury because he still working with the Dodgers and I like how he overcame his alcoholism and drug problem and turn it into helping kids.

I loved Maury Wills and remember watching him at the ballpark as a small child, but I am in complete disagreement that his number should be retired at Dodger Stadium! The Dodgers have a set precedent and only broke with it once. You retire numbers for players in the Hall of Fame. I understand they made the exception for Junior’s death. I for one respect the Dodgers for not retiring numbers of everyone who was a very good player. Over the years I have heard Hershiser, Garvey, Valenzuela, Gibson, etc. should all have retired numbers and I strongly disagree!

Joe,
What did you think when Mitch Poole, the Dodger clubhouse manager did not give Manny #34 because he said that in his heart #34 was retired.

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