The Los Angeles Dodgers have a rich lineage of legends who not only made contributions to the franchise, but also made an impact on the overall sport of baseball. One player who fits that description is Maury Wills.
Signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1951, the famed infielder has been among the former players to offer their insight at Spring Training.
This year Wills, a friend of Dodgers manager Dave Roberts, will get the opportunity to work closely with Yasiel Puig.
The arrangement is one Puig specifically asked for. With Wills slated to be in camp, one would figure his knowledge would be of value in other areas.
One of those being baserunning. It was no secret the Dodgers struggled in that facet last season, ultimately replaced third base coach Lorenzo Bundy with Ron Roenicke.
Wills is hopeful he’ll get the opportunity to work with the club on the basepaths and explained how running the bases isn’t simply about speed, via Bill Shaikin of the LA Times:
“My hope and prayer is that I get to work with the entire team on baserunning,” Wills said. “Good baserunning wins more ballgames than any other facet of the game. I’m not talking about base stealing. Base stealing is for a select few. But baserunning is for everybody. The slowest runner on the team can be the best baserunner. Baserunning is just getting the most of what you have to work with, going from first to third on base hits you should go from first to third on, scoring on base hits you should score on, because you know what to do and how to do it.”
Wills ranks first on the Dodgers’ all-time stolen bases list with 490 swiped bags. Carl Crawford leads current Dodgers with 48 stolen bases.
Wills spent all but three of 14 seasons in the Majors with the Dodgers organization. The four-time All-Star was named the National League MVP in 1962, which came during a six-year stretch Wills led the NL or Majors in stolen bases.