This day in Los Angeles Dodgers history saw Maury Wills set the MLB record for most games played in a single season with 165. All but one of those came as a start.
Wills narrowly edged San Francisco Giants shortstop Jose Pagan for the MLB record, as he appeared in 164 games that year. Coincidentally, it was against the Giants that Wills appeared in his 165th game of the season, though it ended in disappointment for the Dodgers as they fell short of winning the National League pennant on Oct. 3, 1962.
Pagan is tied with Ron Santo (1965), Billy Williams (1965), Cesar Tovear (1967) and Frank Toveras (1979) for the second-most games played in one season. More recently, Justin Morneau played in 163 games for the Minnesota Twins during the 2008 season.
Wills was in his fourth season with the Dodgers in 1962 and it marked a third consecutive year in which he played at least 148 games. He appeared in a minimum of 132 games every year from 1960-1971.
Included in that stretch was three consecutive All-Star Game selections and five overall, in addition to leading the National League in stolen bases six times. Wills finished with a then-MLB record 104 stolen bases in 1962.
Also that season, Wills earned the National League Gold Glove Award and MVP honors when he batted .299 with 130 runs scored, 208 hits, six home runs and 48 RBI over the 165 games.
Wills first went to Spring Training with the Dodgers in 1951 as an 18-year-old and worked his way through their farm system before making his MLB debut on June 6, 1959. Wills played for the Dodgers, Pittsburgh Pirates and Montreal Expos during his 14-year career.
He was part of four Dodgers teams that went to the World Series (1959, 1963, 1965 and 1966) and helped the club win the first three.
Wills’ historic career included being the first MLB player to bat on artificial turf on April 18, 1966, at the Houston Astrodome.
Will passed on Sept. 19 at the age of 89.
Dave Roberts impacted by Maury Wills
After his playing career, Wills maintained close ties to the Dodgers organization as a special instructor during Spring Training and regular visitor to Dodger Stadium. He developed a particularly close relationship with manager Dave Roberts.
“Maury was very impactful to me personally and professionally. He’s going to be missed and I didn’t get a chance to say goodbye to him. This one is tough for me,” Roberts said. “He did a lot for the community, a lot for the Dodgers, and he was a friend, a father, a mentor and all of the above.”
Roberts wears No. 30 in honor of Wills and cherished their relationship. “He just loved the game of baseball, loved working and loved the relationship with players,” Roberts recalled. “We spent a lot of time together. A lot of time together.
“He really showed me how to appreciate my craft and what it is to be a big leaguer. He just loved to teach, so I think a lot of where I get my excitement, my passion, my love for players, is from Maury.”
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