Maury Wills is one of the most important players not in the Hall of Fame. He influenced how the game was (is) played by others by reinventing the stolen base. And considering how underscored these Dodgers teams were, that made him particularly valuable. He was also pretty good defensively. Yes, he had personal issues, but this is an institution Ty Cobb had in her inaugural class.
I grew up listening to the Dodgers-Giants rivalry in the 1960s and loved watching Maury Wills frustrate and almost single-handedly defeat the Giants. Alongside Sandy Koufax, he was my favorite Dodger of the time and I was horrified when he was traded to the Pittsburgh Pirates for popcorn and a hot dog.
Whether or not the team continues their outdated policy of number retirement, just as no one will get Fernando’s 34, no one should wear the number 30 after Dave Roberts.
The death of Dodger great Maury Wills begs the question: Why isn’t this guy in the Hall of Fame?
His numbers matched and even surpassed many of the players already in the hall. I know because I looked. And how many of them have a regular-season MVP, an All-Star Game MVP, and three World Series rings on their résumés? I looked it up, again not many.
What I didn’t need to look up was that none of them changed the game of baseball by bringing back the stolen base and turning it into an art.
It was bad enough that it took Gil Hodges almost forever to get in, but this…this is a tragedy.
Long before the wave, the cry was, “Go, go, go!” As a kid walking to Dodger Stadium with his dad, there were certain things you’d like to see: Koufax launching a fatal curveball; Willie Davis hits a ball in the gap; Don Drysdale staking his claim on the outer part if not all of the record; and Frank Howard hammering a misplaced fastball. But for sheer excitement and crowd thrills, Maury Wills was unbeatable as he walked away from first base.
I can still hear John Ramsey’s booming voice: “Batting first for the Dodgers…”. The hands begin to clap. “The shortstop…” The ovation continues to build. “Number 30…” Now a thunderous roar. “Maury…” The whole stadium cheers! You’ve never heard the “Wills”. You didn’t have to. Everyone knew. The captain entered. It was excitement time. It was time for Dodger baseball.
I have to agree with Chip Kelly that the lack of big name opponents hurts attendance as these big name schools have fans who travel everywhere to watch their teams play. UCLA won’t have more home fans, but if you just want to fill the Rose Bowl, it’s a good idea to plan for top-flight teams. Additionally, Bruin students and fans can sell their tickets to opposing fans. The fans will come, but I doubt they’ll wear powder blue.
The question isn’t why only 29,344 people attended last Saturday’s UCLA game at the Rose Bowl. The real question is why anyone showed up in the first place. I mean, seriously, an 11 a.m. football game against South Alabama and the fans getting slammed for not going?
I don’t know why UCLA has such a problem with attending the Rose Bowl. You can get a ticket for as little as $6, which is a pretty good deal. Maybe it’s because they want $60 for parking!
MVP or HR derby?
Regarding the MVP pick between Shohei Ohtani and Aaron Judge. Aaron Judge has not won 13 games as a pitcher. He doesn’t have a 2.34 ERA. If he does, then Judge has a case for MVP.
No, Bill Shaikin, the “real” home run record isn’t 73. The “real” record remains Roger Maris’ 61 (unless Aaron Judge breaks it this year).
It doesn’t matter that Bud Selig remained silent as Barry Bonds passed 61 while using banned steroids. Players cannot set records by cheating just because a sport’s administrators choose to ignore a scandal.
True sports fans know that Maris’ 61 is considered the greatest home run of a season.
The angels are so hard to see on TV and hear on the radio. The announcers are so subpar. The TV people, while I’m sure they’re nice people, are so busy citing obscure statistics. So what if that hit off the wall was a home run at X other stadiums? As a very longtime Angels fan, I hope the new owner invests not only in quality pitching, but also in declaring teams that make the game fun with a little, no much, less hometown bias.
Corona del Mar
It is with deep sadness that I read that former UCLA basketball starter Jalen Hill passed away at the age of 22. He left the squad in 2021 to battle his depression and anxiety. With all the resources UCLA would have for him, it shows that a mental health pandemic, particularly among young men, is rampant. I pray for the family.
Craig A Horowitz
The Los Angeles Times welcomes expressions of all views. Letters should be short and become property of The Times. They can be edited and republished in any format. Each must include a valid mailing address and phone number. Pseudonyms are not used.
https://www.latimes.com/sports/story/2022-09-23/la-times-sports-letters-maury-wills-dodgers Letters: Maury Wills is gone but his exploits are remembered