The Los Angeles Dodgers signed Maury Wills in 1951, and he’s been a major instrumental figure in their organization ever since. From his dazzling speed to his infectious personality to his ability to teach those who would be the next generation, Wills could do it all. But, now, his time is coming to a close.
Wills is now 83, and he said this will be his last spring training as an instructor for the club. Wills, citing that he’s a “very spiritual person”, went on to say that he feels like he has “received the message that it’s about that time.” He seems very content with the decision that he has made, and that’s all you can ask.
“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’ mentality and coaching has helped the team since 2000. Wills even once tutored new Dodgers manager Dave Roberts on the ins and outs of baserunning, so there was a special bond that formed there. In fact, Roberts wanted to wear Wills’ number, and did. That was the respect they shared.
While Roberts goes through his first season as Dodgers skipper, Wills is going through his final spring training campaign. It’s almost fitting. As something comes to an end, something new arises to somewhat take its place. As his final spring comes to a close, we should all be so lucky to say that we got to see Maury Wills one last time.