Thursday, December 17, 2009

Collective Troll Card of the Day...

I am working my 2nd of 5 consecutive doubles today which has put a severe cramp in my posting… I didn’t want to go a day without posting, so here is another quick Card of the Day post. I am sticking with 1972 Topps since they are near the scanner and also sticking with the "he belongs in the Hall of Fame" theme… Today’s card of the day is a 1972 Topps Maury Wills, card #437. 1972 was Wills final year in the big leagues and this is also his final regular issue Topps card. It shows his stats for 13 seasons which is pretty close to his career totals as he only had 132 at bats in 1972. He appeared in his final game in October of 1972 and five years later his son Bump Wills made his Major League debut with the Texas Rangers. This card doesn’t show stolen bases on the back of the card which is what Wills was known for. It also lacks any biography-just the stats...He was 39 years old in ’72-although he still looks young on the card. He only stole 1 base that season; it was his 586th of his career which places him 19th on the All Time list. During his prime, Wills led the National League in steals for 6 consecutive seasons and he was in the top-10 in steals 11 straight times over his 14 year career. The only times he wasn’t top 10 were his rookie year in 1959 when he was a part time player and also his final two seasons. His best year, which he will forever be remember for, was the 1962 season when he put up monster statistics and won the National League MVP Award. He batted .299 with 6 homers and 48 RBI, but he also paced the league in games, at-bats and triples (10) and scored 130 runs (2nd). He also topped 200 hits for the first and only time during his career with 208. The truly amazing thing he did was top 100 in steals. He paced the Majors with 104 swipes while being caught only 13 times. That year he also played in both All Star Games, was the All Star Game MVP and won the Major League Player of the Year Award. He also won his second straight Gold Glove Award that year. Over his career he was an All Star 7 times, starting 3 of them, led the Majors in stolen bases during the 1960’s and helped the Dodgers win 4 National League Pennants and 3 World Series rings. He is another “what if?” player, although he wasn't afraid of flying, he just came up in a very deep organization. As a shortstop in the Dodgers organization, when he signed Pee Wee Reese had a strong hold on the position and when he moved to third base, Don Zimmer jumped in as the Dodgers shortstop for a couple of years, both of them blocking Wills. Maury Wills spent 9 seasons in the minor leagues before finally earning a spot on the team in ’59. That year he platooned with Zimmer, but ultimately made Zimm expendable and took over as the Dodgers full time shortstop in 1961 and was an All Star immediately. You have to wonder what kind of numbers Wills would have put up if he was in the big leagues at 21 or even 25. As is, beginning full-time at 27, Maurice Morning Wills was the shortstop and base stealer of the 60’s. He remained on the Hall of Fame for the maximum of 15 years, but never received more than 40% of the vote, making him another Dodgers MVP overlooked by the Hall of Fame. Other than his stolen base totals, his career numbers in hits (2134 career, 193rd All Time) and runs (1067) aren’t Hall of Fame caliber, but there is something to be said for his dominance on the base paths, his postseason leadership and the way that he changed the game. Cases for Wills to the Hall will come later, until then, enjoy his final Topps card. I love this game, I love its history and I love this hobby! But I am sick of working all the time… Please bear with me, I will be blogging it up regularly by the start of 2010 for sure! As an end note, if you are a Wills fan, I would recommend his 1991 autobiography "On the Run". It covers more than just baseball and goes deep into his personal life-it is a really good read. Troll out.


  1. I'll be lookin for the Wills for HOF post. Daddy D is definitely on board with that one.

  2. I always meant to read his bio, but never have. I think he's Hall material. The guy made the championship Dodgers teams of the '60s go. They really had to work for their offense and thank goodness they had Maury.