February is Black History Month so I thought I honored a few Dodgers for their contribution on the field and off the field.
Let’s start with Maury Wills.
His perceverence paid off! Maury emerged from the Washington D.C. projects. He was one of 13 siblings, he went without shoes for much of his childhood. He spent eight years in the minors before joining the Major Leauge club. He’d go on to win an MVP award, two Gold Gloves,be named to five All-Star Games and lead the NL insteals six times.
Go! Go! Go! In September 23, 1962, Dodger shortstop Maury Wills broke Ty cobb’s record of 96 stolen bases in one season. Dodger Stadium would erupt in
chant of “Go! Go!’ whenever he was on the basepaths. The exciting Wills ended up with 104 bases swipes and woudl go on to win the National League MVP.
Maury became the manager of the Mariners but after he got fired in 1981, he turned to alcohol and drugs.
Maury credits God, and the Dodgers, for saving his life. His personal angel was another Dodger legend, Don Newcombe. Alcohol had ruined Newcombe’s brilliant career 20 years earlier. When he got sober, Newk set about saving others.
He contributes not only to baseball but to help others make that cross to sobriety.
Last year I attended the RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities)dinner where Maury Wills was given the organization’s Lifetime Achievement Award.
At the dinner, my friend Erik and I chanted “Go! Go! Go! when Maury’s name was announced! Larry King commented “There is your fan club Maury!”.
I do wish his number would be retired at Dodger Stadium. We Love you Maury!
ref: maurywills.com, dodgers.com
Next: Don Newcombe