One staple for the Los Angeles Dodgers over the years at Spring Training camp has been the presence of several legendary players, including Sandy Koufax and Maury Wills.
While Koufax decided to retire before this spring, Wills has present and as usual worked with players on bunting and baserunning.
Perhaps most notably this year, Wills has worked one-on-one with Yasiel Puig. The arrangement is one Puig specifically requested as he looks to rebound from a down season, and Wills was more than happy to oblige.
The Dodgers’ all-time stolen base leader also said he would like to help improve the team’s overall base running this spring. Thus far, with manager Dave Roberts also receiving some credit, the Dodgers have shown improved aggressiveness and instincts on the bases.
Despite the enjoyment that Wills displays when working with young players, the 83 year old will retire as a special instructor after this spring, according to Lindsey Thiry of the LA Times:
Dodgers legend Maury Wills expects this to be his final spring as an instructor with the club, he told The Times on Thursday. … “I’m a very spiritual person and I feel like I’ve received the message that it’s about that time,” Wills said. “I can’t run like I used to, my body is not as alive as it used to be, but it is such a thrill teaching,” he said. “Success is not to just keep for ourselves but to eventually pass it onto someone else and, in fact, giving it away is how you keep it.”
Wills retired as a Dodger after 14 seasons in the Majors, including brief stints with the Pittsburgh Pirates and Montreal Expos. He won three World Series, two Gold Glove awards and was a five-time All-Star.
Wills spent all but three of 14 seasons with the Dodgers organization. He was named the National League MVP in 1962, which came during a six-year stretch in which Wills led the NL or Majors in stolen bases.