Maury Wills is gone, but fans will never forget his exploits

Dodgers shortstop Maury Wills, shown in 1962, was the first major leaguer to steal 100 bases in a season. (Associated Press)

Maury Wills is one of the most important players not in the Hall of Fame. He influenced how the game was (also) played by others by reinventing the stolen base. And considering how those Dodgers teams were so low-scoring, that made him extra valuable. He was pretty good defensively, too. Yes, he had personal problems, but this is an institution that had Ty Cobb in its inaugural class.

Evan Puziss

Mar Vista

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Growing up with the Dodgers-Giants rivalry in the 1960s, I loved watching Maury Wills frustrate and beat the Giants almost single-handedly. Next to Sandy Koufax, he was my favorite Dodger during that era and I was horrified when he was traded for popcorn and a hot dog to the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Whether or not the team continues its outdated policy of number retirement, just as no one will be issued Fernando’s 34, no one after Dave Roberts should wear No. 30.

Elliot Powers

San Diego

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The passing of Dodger great Maury Wills brings up the question: Why isn’t this guy in the Hall of Fame?

His numbers were equal to and even exceeded many of the players already in the Hall. I know because I looked it up. And how many of them have a regular-season MVP, All-Star Game MVP, and three World Series rings on their resumes? I looked it up, again not many.

What I didn’t have to look up was that none of them changed the game of baseball by bringing back the stolen base and making it an art.

It was bad enough that it took damn near forever for Gil Hodges to get in, but this… this is a tragedy.

David Dale

Sonoma Valley

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Long before the wave, there was the chant “Go, go, go!” As a boy walking into Dodger Stadium with his dad, there were certain things you hoped to see: Koufax snapping off a lethal curveball; Willie Davis hitting a ball up the gap; Don Drysdale staking his claim to the outside part of, if not the whole, plate; and Frank Howard hammering a misplaced fastball. But for pure excitement and the thrill of the crowd, you couldn’t beat Maury Wills moving off first base.

Rob Stockley

Sierra Madre

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I can still hear John Ramsey’s booming voice, “Batting first for the Dodgers ….” Hands begin to clap. “The shortstop….” The ovation continues to build. “Number 30 ….” Now a thunderous roar. “Maury ….” The whole stadium cheers as one! You never heard the “Wills.” You didn’t have to. Everyone knew. The captain was stepping in. It was time for excitement. It was time for Dodger baseball.

John Thompson

Mission Viejo

UCLA Fanfare

I’ll have to agree with Chip Kelly about the lack of big-name opponents hurting attendance, because those big-name schools have fans that travel all over to watch their teams play. UCLA won’t have more home fans, but if you just want to fill the Rose Bowl, scheduling top-tier teams is a good idea. Plus Bruin students and fans will be able to sell their tickets to opposing fans. The fans will come, but I doubt they will be wearing powder blue.

Judy Thomsen

Glendora

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The question isn’t why only 29,344 people attended the UCLA game last Saturday at the Rose Bowl. The real question is why anyone showed up at all. I mean, seriously, an 11 am football game against South Alabama and the fans are being criticized for not going?

Greg Nersesian

North Hollywood

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I don’t know why UCLA has such a problem with attendance at 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!

Bill Piercy

Long Beach

MVP or HR derby?

Regarding the MVP choice between Shohei Ohtani and Aaron Judge. Aaron Judge has not won 13 games as a pitcher. He does not have a 2.34 ERA. When he does, then Judge has an argument for MVP.

Dennis Hurwitz

Del Mar

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Well, Bill Shaikin, the “real” home run record is not 73. The “real” record remains Roger Maris’ 61 (unless Aaron Judge breaks it this year).

It doesn’t matter that Bud Selig remained silent when Barry Bonds surpassed 61 while using banned steroids. Players cannot set records by cheating simply because a sport’s administrators want to ignore a scandal.

True sports fans know that Maris’ 61 stands as the greatest single-season home run feat.

Ray McKown

Torrance

Broadcast blues

The Angels are so difficult to watch on TV and listen to on the radio. The announcers are so subpar. The TV guys, while I’m sure are nice guys, are so busy quoting obscure stats. So what if that hit off the wall would be a home run in X number of other ballparks? As a very longtime Angels fan, I hope the new owner invests not only in some quality pitching, but also in announcing teams that make the game enjoyable with a little, no a lot, less of a hometown bias.

Steve Geary

Corona del Mar

Painful reminder

I read with profound sadness that former UCLA basketball starter Jalen Hill died at age 22. He left the squad in 2021 to fight his depression and anxiety. With all the resources UCLA would have for him, it shows a mental health pandemic, particularly with young males, prevalently exists. I pray for the family.

Craig A. Horowitz

Santa Monica

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This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.

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