Tuesday, March 3, 2015
no. 385 - maury wills
Who is the man: Maury Wills was entering the final full season of his 14-year career when this card was made. In 1970, he played in 132 games and stole 28 bases as a 39-year-old.
Can ya dig it: This is just the second Topps card of Wills as a Dodger. He didn't even show up in a Topps set until 1967 when he was with the Pirates.
Right on: Every time I think about how many more Maury Wills Dodger cards there could have been, it irks me.
You see that cat Wills is a bad mother: Once known as the best base stealer of all-time, he held the record for most stolen bases in a season for 12 years after stealing 104 in 1962. He is one of the few players who landed an MVP award based on his base-stealing talent.
Shut your mouth: Back in the '50s when Topps signed everyone they could to a contract, they still limited themselves to "sure things" and everything they heard said that Wills wasn't. In the "Baseball Card Flipping Trading and Bubble Gum Book," Sy Berger explains the fallout of not signing Wills:
"Maury stayed angry at us for quite some time after that, as you can well imagine, even after he made it to the majors. He didn't sign up with us until about his eighth year with the Dodgers. He was the only major leaguer we didn't have under contract. You couldn't blame him of course. So after that we went back to signing everyone in the minors."
No one understands him but his woman: The 1962 MVP Award that Wills won belongs to his ex-wife. He's said that she won't let him have it back.
(A word about the back): Wills' two-homer game on May 30, 1962 came in the first game of a doubleheader against the expansion Mets. He hit six home runs that season, which was a career high.