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Tuesday, April 28, 2020

SI: Maury Wills Looks Back on Dodgers Career

Interestingly, Wills had a nearly identical number of stolen base opportunities between two seasons, with 348 in 1961 and 349 in 1962. But he attempted more than twice as many steals in 1962 as he had the previous year, running 33.6 percent of his opportunities. He’d steal 104 bases in all, shattering Ty Cobb’s 47-year-old single-season record of 96.

“I never intended to break Ty Cobb’s record,” Wills said. “I just thought of stealing bases. That became our attack. I would get on and steal second and then I’d steal third. Somebody’d hit a long fly ball (for a sacrifice fly) and Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale would shut ‘em out.”


He also stole with an excellent rate of success in 1962, getting caught stealing just 13 times that season. He attributing his success to studying opposing catchers and pitchers during pregame warm-ups.

“All the players always when it was to their advantage, they would go to the clubhouse and have that soda or cup of coffee or whatever,” Wills said. “I would sit on the bench and watch the opposition. It was something, Pete Reiser had taught me that. I always watched the opposing team take infield because I wanted to see the catcher throw to second base.”

villageidiom Posted: April 28, 2020 at 10:43 AM | 41 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: dodgers, los angeles, los angeles dodgers, maury wills, stolen bases

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   1. phredbird Posted: April 28, 2020 at 01:13 PM (#5945464)

i think they are finally dying off, but god i can't tell you how many old dodger fans i encountered in L.A. who still thought all they needed was a guy who could steal a base now and then to get them over the hump and into the WS.

they were the kind of fans who thought juan pierre was gonna save the franchise.
   2. JoeD has the Imperial March Stuck in His Head Posted: April 28, 2020 at 01:17 PM (#5945467)
It did not register to me at all that he'd be 87 years old. I mean, duh, but wow at the same time.
   3. Howie Menckel Posted: April 28, 2020 at 01:40 PM (#5945473)
Maury led the league in SB 6 times - and in CS 7 times.

at age 36 for the Expos and Dodgers, he had 40 SB and 21 CS.

Maury put up an OPS+ of 3 - yes, three - in 152 PA at age 39. not one of those guys who had to wonder, "do I have anything left for another season?

he's 5th all-time in CS - trailing only Rickey, Brock, Brett Butler, and Cobb.

btw, Brett got caught at least 15 times in 11 straight years, then had to settle for 8 in strike-shortened 1994.
   4. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 28, 2020 at 01:43 PM (#5945474)
Subhed: Maury Wills Declines to Look Back on Mariners Career
   5. Jeremy Renner App is Dead and I killed it Posted: April 28, 2020 at 01:52 PM (#5945478)
Did a super quick review and found a few games in 1962 where Wills stole second and third and then scored. But none where his run was meaningful in like the game was 1-0 or 2-1 or something. Seems like Wills actually did not run much in low scoring games. But would need to examine carefully to be sure
   6. Dennis Eclairskey, closer Posted: April 28, 2020 at 02:46 PM (#5945496)
Wills will most likely appear on the Golden Days Era ballot this fall. My guess is Dick Allen, Tony Oliva, Jim Kaat, & Minnie Miñoso will all be on the ballot. Allen & Oliva missed by 1 vote the last time players from this Era were eligible, Kaat missed by 2, Wills missed by 3
   7. eric Posted: April 28, 2020 at 02:53 PM (#5945501)
He also stole with an excellent rate of success in 1962, getting caught stealing just 13 times that season. He attributing his success to studying opposing catchers and pitchers during pregame warm-ups.

“All the players always when it was to their advantage, they would go to the clubhouse and have that soda or cup of coffee or whatever,” Wills said. “I would sit on the bench and watch the opposition. It was something, Pete Reiser had taught me that. I always watched the opposing team take infield because I wanted to see the catcher throw to second base.”


Everything in that snippet sounds good, but did he forget how to do all that the very next season when he "only" stole 40 bags and was caught 19 times? He would steal 94 a couple years later in 1965, so it's not like he really lost a step.

He definitely has a strange SB progression. Most guys get out of the gate, er, fast, then slowly fade--Raines, for example, has a fantastically typical shape to his SB numbers--but Wills was all over the place. I understand at the very beginning of his career SB weren't so much in style, but still:

50 (1960)
35
104
40
53
94
38
29
52
40

The steep drop-off from his #2 season to #3 is also very peculiar. What changed from 1961-1962 and then from 1962-1963? And then again in 1965?
   8. SoSH U at work Posted: April 28, 2020 at 03:42 PM (#5945531)

Wills will most likely appear on the Golden Days Era ballot this fall. My guess is Dick Allen, Tony Oliva, Jim Kaat, & Minnie Miñoso will all be on the ballot. Allen & Oliva missed by 1 vote the last time players from this Era were eligible, Kaat missed by 2, Wills missed by 3


Allen seems almost certain, probably with Oliva. The voters in this committee wanted to put people in last time, they just couldn't agree on which two.

   9. puck Posted: April 28, 2020 at 03:54 PM (#5945542)
Back in the 80's era of basestealer they used to talk about guys getting beat up from all the sliding making back to back high steal years difficult. I don't know that there's any truth to it, but that's what they used to say back then. It didn't seem to stop young Rickey or young Vince Coleman.
   10. villageidiom Posted: April 28, 2020 at 04:37 PM (#5945564)
Everything in that snippet sounds good, but did he forget how to do all that the very next season when he "only" stole 40 bags and was caught 19 times?


From TFA:
His success in 1962 came at a personal cost, though.

Wills played in a record 165 games in 1962 as the Dodgers went to a three-game playoff at the end of the season with the San Francisco Giants, which they lost.

The next year, his legs became “stiff, puffed up, and hurting,” he said. While the Dodgers would go on to win the World Series in 1963, Wills missed 28 games, stealing 40 bases and attempting steals just 23.2 percent of his opportunities.

“I was almost afraid to steal a base,” Wills said. “I didn’t want to have to slide.”


As for this:
What changed from 1961-1962 and then from 1962-1963? And then again in 1965?
Effort. Here are his SB attempts for that same range:

62
50
117
59
70
125
62
39
73
61

So it's not really a question of what happened after those high-SB seasons, because those were normal attempt volumes for him. It's a question of what happened in the two peak years, as those are the outliers. And one doesn't simply stumble into doubling their SB attempts. It's effort.

It could be opportunity, too. As a rough gauge, here are his total singles+walks+HBP for those years, just as a sense of relative volume of opportunities:

173 -> 36%
210 -> 24%
232 -> 50%
182 -> 32%
192 -> 36%
209 -> 60%
181 -> 34%
194 -> 20%
202 -> 36%
209 -> 29%

The numbers after the arrow are the ratio of SB attempts to {singles+walks+HBP}, which looks pretty consistent except for 1967 (20%), and in his top SB years when he was 50%+. So, yeah, looks like he had two years where he just tried harder.

That's no indictment of him, either. TFA suggests he wore himself out in 1962, with implications in later years.
   11. Walt Davis Posted: April 28, 2020 at 05:09 PM (#5945583)
#5: He only stole 3rd 88 times in his career, 16 times that year, so off the bat we know that his claim is wildly off. But he did score 130 runs, of the 842 the Dodgers scored overall (2nd in NL), so he was a big part of their offense. B-r's WPA table shows him at around 3 wins added and WAR credits him with a whopping +19 in baserunning.

I don't think I've ever noticed baserunning credit near +19 before. And a PI search does show it as #1 all-time. Willie Wilson and Rickey each have two seasons of 17, Vince has one. Next closest is Vince with 13.6. In 1962, 2nd place was fellow Dodger Willie Davis at 7. From 1947-61, the highest had been Aparicio at 11 in 59. It does seem fair to say that nobody had seen anybody like Wills before, or at least not in a very long time. He really was running wild out there.
   12. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: April 28, 2020 at 07:42 PM (#5945640)
I don't think I've ever noticed baserunning credit near +19 before. And a PI search does show it as #1 all-time. Willie Wilson and Rickey each have two seasons of 17, Vince has one. Next closest is Vince with 13.6. In 1962, 2nd place was fellow Dodger Willie Davis at 7. From 1947-61, the highest had been Aparicio at 11 in 59. It does seem fair to say that nobody had seen anybody like Wills before, or at least not in a very long time. He really was running wild out there.

it is, but it was only year he was above +10 in his career (there have been 48 such seasons in MLB history). Rickey be Rickey had 6 such seasons, Willie Wilson had 5.
   13. Walt Davis Posted: April 28, 2020 at 08:50 PM (#5945662)
True but that was also characteristic of the era. Brock made it to 9.5 in 66 and Campy to 9.9 in 69. (PI gives the decimals, might as well use them). Wills' 9.1 in 1960 was the 7th best of the 1947-69 period. Aparicio is the only other runner of that period to reach 9 twice. It's not really until 75-76, with 3 players each, when 9+ became somewhat standard for the top performers. (75 was Lopes, Morgan, Rivers; 76 was Lopes, Morgan, Cedeno). Roy White 70, Patek 71, Bonds 72 and Larry Lintz (who?) 74 were the ones who made it before then.

So from 47-74, it was done 12 times by 10 players and Bonds' 13.1 is 2nd to Wills' 18.6 -- a bigger gap than between Bonds and #12. It really stood out. And if we look at career totals for 47-74 (which clearly disadvantages Bonds, Morgan, etc.) the Wills falls back a good bit -- Aparicio 92, Mays 78, Brock 70, then a cluster of Campy, Wills, Davis and Pee Wee Reese all around 55.

Now, Larry Lintz. It seems I should remember a guy that fast even if he did play for the young Expos. Apparently a poor man's Herb Washington or closer to Matt Alexander. In fact he was in the A's org at the same time as Alexander, not sure if they were on the ML roster at the same times. He almost got to 400 PA in that +9 year which was the only big running year he had. But he played bits of 6 seasons. Probably one of those super-specialist guys that WAR doesn't really work for (he gets to add baserunning value without adding PAs) but he comes out as average in his 750 PAs.
   14. The Duke Posted: April 28, 2020 at 10:57 PM (#5945692)
I don’t see him as a HOFer. Almost everyone on his ballot listed above has a better case. Kaat, oliva and dick Allen and Minnie Minoso. All of those guys should get in before Wills gets a sniff.
   15. Howie Menckel Posted: April 28, 2020 at 11:53 PM (#5945710)
Apparently a poor man's Herb Washington or closer to Matt Alexander.

Lintz was better at baseball than Washington, or Don Hopkins or the original - Allan Lewis, a KC A in 1967.

Alexander - the most prolific of Finley's Scamperers - could also play a little.
   16. Walt Davis Posted: April 29, 2020 at 01:08 AM (#5945724)
That's why I put him closer to Alexander than Washington. But let's not oversell Alexander -- he didn't make it to 200 PA over parts of 9 years; didn't make the majors until 26. So 374 appearances, only 195 PA. Had enough sense to take a walk when it was on offer at least. (bWAR also didn't consider him a good baserunner so he's below replacement.) Lintz was apparently a rich man's Matt Alexander, more a Tony Campana.

So here's a funny, not at all useful list -- careers with PA < 40*Rbase. Campana leads this list in PA easily with 477 (14 Rbase) followed by Ced Landrum who played in the early 1990s with 119 PA/5 Rbase. Terrence Gore and his 77 PA and 3 Rbase is 4th by PA. Among those with double-digit PA, Allan Lewis appears to be the rate leader with 2 Rbase and 31 PA in 156 appearances from 1967-73. Charlton Jimerson (what a name!) appears the rate leader for those with at least 5 PA (9 PA with 0.8 Rbase) and Dutch Schirik with 1 PA and 0.4 Rbase the leader among the positive PA crew.

Among those with at least 10 PA, Lance Clemons is our hitting star with a line of 250/333/875 with a triple and HR in his 8 AB/10 PA. Note, he was a pitcher who probably just took an extra base one time. None of these nearly 200 players hit more than one HR. Bud Thomas might be our top power/speed guy with 1 HR and 7 hits in 20 AB/PA and 0.8 Rbase and 2 for 2 in steals.

Meanwile on family trees, it turns out that Peter Bourjos's father Chris made the majors ... and appears on this list so score one for genetics. One of the better ones with 24 PA, 0.6 Rbase and a 97 OPS+ for the 1980 Giants ... but he never attempted a steal. He looked like a decent prospect it seems -- solid 1977 at A ball, 302/341/436 at AAA in 79 and 295/348/438 in 80. And he was the nephew of Otto Denning who played a bit in WW2.

Turns out Ced Landrum was also a Cub (I had no idea) so, despite their sluggish rep, the Cubs are at least partly responsible for Alexander, Campana and Landrum.
   17. SandyRiver Posted: April 29, 2020 at 07:47 AM (#5945745)
Wills' 2nd and 3rd career HR were switch HRs in the same game. Has anyone done that with their #1 and #2 career dingers?
   18. Rally Posted: April 29, 2020 at 08:25 AM (#5945754)
i think they are finally dying off, but god i can't tell you how many old dodger fans i encountered in L.A. who still thought all they needed was a guy who could steal a base now and then to get them over the hump and into the WS.


The Dodger manager is kind of known for being that guy.
   19. Rally Posted: April 29, 2020 at 08:32 AM (#5945756)
In 2000 (The Year of the Penguin), a guy in my APBA league decided to push the stolen base to the limits for his center fielder. The guy had 172 hits, 62 walks + HBP, zero homers, 26 doubles, 8 triples.

The player stole 309 bases, but was thrown out 132 times. He often attempted steals of 2nd, 3rd, and home though I have no breakdown of attempts to each base. The player scored only 80 runs. In spite of this the team, the Florida Penguins, did make it to the world series.
   20. Rally Posted: April 29, 2020 at 08:37 AM (#5945758)
Meanwile on family trees, it turns out that Peter Bourjos's father Chris made the majors


Chris played in the 33 inning game that featured future HOFers playing 3B for each side - Boggs and Ripken. I also remember Jason Grilli's dad played in that game.
   21. Starring RMc as Bradley Scotchman Posted: April 29, 2020 at 11:04 AM (#5945815)
It did not register to me at all that he'd be 87 years old.

Doris Day was 97 when she passed last year. (I'm sure that, 50 years ago, neither Maury nor Doris thought they'd both still be alive in 2019!)
   22. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 29, 2020 at 03:34 PM (#5945920)
Doris Day was 97 when she passed last year. (I'm sure that, 50 years ago, neither Maury nor Doris thought they'd both still be alive in 2019!)

And Olivia (AKA Melanie in GWTW) de Havilland could have attended Doris Day's funeral.

How old is Olivia de Havilland? She was born on Day One of the Battle of the Somme: July 1, 1916. Her kid sister Joan Fontaine only made it to 96.
   23. Itchy Row Posted: April 29, 2020 at 04:26 PM (#5945939)
Wills is about 15 months younger than the 100th-oldest living ex-major leaguer according to Wikipedia's list. Eddie Robinson is the oldest and had the earliest MLB debut.
   24. ERROR---Jolly Old St. Nick Posted: April 29, 2020 at 04:37 PM (#5945943)
Jesus F. Christ, Robinson made his MLB debut less than a year after Pearl Harbor. Even I wasn't born then, and that's saying a lot.
   25. Itchy Row Posted: April 29, 2020 at 04:44 PM (#5945946)
Robinson's first game was against the A's, who were still managed by Connie Mack (and would be managed by him for another eight years, so there are a few others who are still alive who played for or against Mack.) Mack was born before the Battle of Gettysburg.
   26. What did Billy Ripken have against ElRoy Face? Posted: April 29, 2020 at 05:35 PM (#5945960)
Doris Day was 97 when she passed last year. (I'm sure that, 50 years ago, neither Maury nor Doris thought they'd both still be alive in 2019!)
She died in May - she was half right.
   27. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: April 29, 2020 at 05:46 PM (#5945964)

Subhed: Maury Wills Declines to Look Back on Mariners Career


I didn't know anything about this managerial career until I watched the Jon Bois episodes of "The History of the Seattle Mariners" and hoo boy, that was hilarious. In 1981, everyone not named "Julio Cruz" was a combined 57 of 99 in stolen base attempts, a success rate of 58 percent!
   28. Hot Wheeling American Posted: April 29, 2020 at 07:51 PM (#5945992)
I didn't know anything about this managerial career until I watched the Jon Bois episodes of "The History of the Seattle Mariners" and hoo boy, that was hilarious.

This me
   29. salvomania Posted: April 30, 2020 at 10:19 AM (#5946106)
I didn't know anything about this managerial career

My recollection is that he seemed to be in way over his head.
   30. SoSH U at work Posted: April 30, 2020 at 10:26 AM (#5946110)
Though obviously his tenure was short-lived, he still makes the short list of worst managers ever. He was truly dreadful in every facet of skipperin' a ballclub.

   31. DanG Posted: April 30, 2020 at 02:16 PM (#5946246)
Shortstops with the most WAR age 29+

Player         WARWAAOPSRfield   PA
Honus Wagner   99.3 71.9  152   61.0 8412 H
Luke Appling   61.5 38.3  117   50.0 7522 H
Ozzie Smith    57.1 34.5   95  163.0 7049 H
Pee Wee Reese  45.9 21.8   98   62.0 6546 H
Cal Ripken Jr
45.6 20.9  104  109.4 7203 H
Bobby Wallace  42.6 20.0  101   66.0 5752 H
George Davis   41.9 24.9  113   91.0 4527 H
Bill Dahlen    41.3 20.8   98   96.0 5897
Barry Larkin   39.5 22.7  116  
-10.7 5574 H
Art Fletcher   37.4 23.2  100  127.0 4373
'Maury Wills   35.2 11.7   91    3.6 6802'
Dave Bancroft  35.2 18.4  100   70.0 5530 H
Derek Jeter    34.4  9.4  111 
-166.0 7621 H
Luis Aparicio  33.6 11.7   86   61.5 6753 H
Omar Vizquel   33.1  4.1   86   63.0 8714
Alan Trammell  33.0 19.3  114   27.7 4095 H 
   32. Jose Needs an Absurd Ukulele Concert Posted: April 30, 2020 at 02:22 PM (#5946251)
Wasn't Wills high on coke most of the time he was Mariners manager?
   33. phredbird Posted: April 30, 2020 at 02:50 PM (#5946264)

i think they are finally dying off, but god i can't tell you how many old dodger fans i encountered in L.A. who still thought all they needed was a guy who could steal a base now and then to get them over the hump and into the WS.


The Dodger manager is kind of known for being that guy.


yeah, but the people i am referring to had no use for signings like manny ramirez — which didn't turn out well at the end, i'll grant, but it was a good signing based on the upside. not to the greybeards who yearned for sandy and maury and 1-0 shutouts yada yada.

i suppose the ones that are left are OK with this iteration of the dodgers though. a decent mix of speed and power, and a big lefthanded hall of fame pitcher. and they've lost multiple world series! ;-)


hey, come on. the admin has shut down the coronavirus thread? just because of a few loudmouths? i was getting lots of good information there.
   34. Rally Posted: April 30, 2020 at 03:27 PM (#5946280)
Shortstops with the most WAR age 29+


The list made me wonder why he got such a late start. He was 26 his first year, and 27 his first year as a regular. The usual culprits in such a situation are wars, racism, or doing something else with his life besides playing pro ball. In Wills' case, seems like none of the 3.

I don't know if he served in the military or not, could have been a reserve, but there are no gaps in his minor league record which starts at age 18. That's a long time to stay in the minors, but doesn't seem it was executives not giving someone of his skin color a chance. When he signed Jackie Robinson still had 6 years left in his career, and as Maury hit his mid 20s some of the guys playing middle infield in the big leagues were Charlie Neal and Jim Gilliam.

Seems like the Dodgers just had more talent in the system than roster spots to put them. Was he good enough to have deserved a chance earlier? Hard to say as the minor league data is not complete, but it looks good enough that in another organization he might have gotten chances. Maybe. Other organizations might have not had the talent to block him but many were not quite as progressive as the Dodgers on race.
   35. Mefisto Posted: April 30, 2020 at 04:09 PM (#5946299)
hey, come on. the admin has shut down the coronavirus thread? just because of a few loudmouths? i was getting lots of good information there.


Yeah I thought there might be some bans, but not that the thread would be shut. The basic problem was 2 major trolls and some people who just couldn't stop themselves from feeding them.
   36. Walt Davis Posted: April 30, 2020 at 07:13 PM (#5946371)
Yeah, that list in #31 is an interesting way to think of Wills' career and suggests he may have been a lot better than we give him credit for.

It does look like a talent block and maybe some veteran goodness. Reese was still at SS in 56 and put up 2.6 WAR. The next year he moved to 3B (and faded) with Neal taking over at SS for a year. The next year it was mainly Zimmer at SS with Neal to 2B and Gilliam utility (still 2 WAR) and the last bits of Reese. Zimmer began the next year at SS but stank and was replaced mid-year by Wills who also wasn't good (neg WAR). Arguably Zimmer never should have gotten a shot and Wills could have gotten 1-1.5 more seasons but as Rally suggests, he didn't really hit in the advanced minors until 1959 anyway when he finally cracked a 300 BA at Spokane.

Something odd in his transaction history too. The Reds grabbed him from the Dodgers in the 56 minor-league draft, he played for Seattle (Reds affil) in the PCL then went back to the Dodgers in an "unknown transaction." The in Oct 58 he was sent to the Tigers as part of a "conditonal deal" then sent back to the Dodgers in April as part of a conditional deal. I suppose that shows that he was on the radar of other teams but that he was roughly the equivalent of a rule 5 guy that other teams wanted a look at but couldn't find room for.

SABR bio has a bit more detail. The Rainiers purchased him in some sort of conditional deal and the Dodgers exercised their option to get him back after that season. They sold him conditionally to the Tigers who seem to be the ones who sent him back. Also Zimmer lost his job due to injury not suckitude it seems but the Dodgers traded him that offseason. Also he didn't start switch-hitting until 1958.

It's an interesting read, a good story of a guy who just took a long time to put things together. According to the bio, he was close to quitting several times and there was always a manager/coach there who kept him going. Sounds like he worked his butt off when he needed to.

Sounds like a guy who'd make a good manager someday. :-)
   37. Jay Z Posted: May 01, 2020 at 08:34 AM (#5946434)
Seems like the Dodgers just had more talent in the system than roster spots to put them. Was he good enough to have deserved a chance earlier? Hard to say as the minor league data is not complete, but it looks good enough that in another organization he might have gotten chances. Maybe. Other organizations might have not had the talent to block him but many were not quite as progressive as the Dodgers on race.


The Dodgers had more players, period. 14 minor league affiliates in 1956. One in the PCL, which had an 'Open' classification at the time, and one each in the AAA leagues, International and American Association as well.

Dodgers were the only org with 3 at that level, but they didn't have the most teams. Cincy and St. Louis both had 15. Least was surprisingly the White Sox with only 6, nothing at AAA or Open! White Sox were good at the time too, with some MLB players in the pipeline, Norm Cash, Johnny Romano, Don Mincher, Jim Landis and others.

In 1956 the Dodgers had Chico Fernandez and Bob Lillis at SS at higher levels than Wills. Both of them would start in the majors. Dick Tracewski was SS at the time and leapfrogged Wills that season. So they had other options.
   38. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: May 01, 2020 at 02:17 PM (#5946681)
Jolly Old Andy: Jesus F. Christ, Robinson made his MLB debut less than a year after Pearl Harbor. Even I wasn't born then, and that's saying a lot.


The more you deny your involvement in the Pearl Harbor attack, the more suspicious I get.
   39. Walt Davis Posted: May 01, 2020 at 06:16 PM (#5946786)
Was he good enough to have deserved a chance earlier? Hard to say as the minor league data is not complete, but it looks good enough that in another organization he might have gotten chances.

That was posted before my #36 but, having dug into his sabr bio, he sorta did have 2 chances in other orgs -- Cincy and Detroit -- without either bringing him up. At Seattle (Reds) in 57 he hit 267/337/338 with 21 steals which is probably not terrible for the time. Back with the Dodgers at Spokane in 58 he hit 253/300/328 and 25 steals. I assume his spring performance in 1959 for the Tigers is lost to history but presumably nothing special. The article mentions the Tigers had traded for Rocky Bridges who was pretty terrible and split time with Coot Veal (terrible) and Ted Lepcio (OK) so possibly they should have stuck with Wills. The Commie-hating Redlegs of 1957 had prime-aged Roy McMillan at SS putting up 2.6 WAR so no surprise they had no use for Wills.

To be clear, I don't know what these conditional deals of the time looked like but I assume they were along the lines of "if you use the guy in the majors then you have to give us a player" (or heaps more money) type deals. In the bio, the 57 deal is stated as he was purchased by the Rainiers not the Reds but the transaction history says he was drafted away by the Reds (who Seattle was affiliated with). Still it's possible that was as much a loan where the Dodgers had two guys they wanted playing SS at Open/AAA while the Rainiers didn't have a AAA SS and there was no serious thought given to Wills going to the majors that year. But in 59, the Tigers returned Wills to the Dodgers in early April so that sounds like he was in camp with the Tigers with a chance at the job.
   40. Howie Menckel Posted: May 01, 2020 at 07:24 PM (#5946800)
Bobby Bragan, meet Maury Wills

interesting tale, given Bragan's initial resistance to Jackie Robinson in 1947...
   41. baudib Posted: May 03, 2020 at 02:22 AM (#5947037)
Wills is one of those guys, almost exclusively Dodgers or Yankees, who seem important enough in the telling of baseball history that I could see them as HOFers even though they're numbers are a little short.

Off the top of my head:
Gil Hodges
Elston Howard
Maury Wills
Thurman Munson

fit that mold. Other guys I might put in this category are Minnie Minoso, Tony Oliva and Dave Parker.

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