Showing posts with label 1962 National League MVP. Show all posts
Showing posts with label 1962 National League MVP. Show all posts

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Maury Wills proudly represents the Dodger blue at the 2011 MLB draft

Sixty years after signing with the Dodgers, Maury Wills continues to bleed Dodger blue. Wills appeared in New York City at a pre-draft luncheon earlier this week as the official representative of the Los Angeles Dodgers at the 2011 Major League Baseball First Year Player Draft. “El Fantasma” (The Ghost) as he was nicknamed in Venezuela for his base-stealing ability, spent a few minutes discussing his 1951 entry into the famed then-Brooklyn organization.

“I was signed out of a tryout camp,” Wills recalled during the festivities. “The guys in the projects saw this ad in the newspaper for Washington D.C. kids between the ages of 17-19 to come and bring your gloves and spikes.”

Maury Wills

His courtship by the Dodgers differed greatly from the hopefuls that awaited Monday evening’s selections.

“We went and performed in front of the scouts,” he said. “There was no such thing as a draft deal like now where they see you play and approach you for a nice bonus. I got $500 and I gave it to my dad. He never saw $500 at one time in his life.”

Wills thought his signing was going to bring life changing riches. He quickly learned that wasn't the case for a young ballplayer at the lowest level of professional baseball.

“At the time, before I signed, I thought I was going to get all of this money and take my family out of the projects, but that didn’t happen,” he said. “I signed for $130 per month and $1.50 per day meal money.”

Despite the rough road he faced toiling the minor leagues for nine years, climbing the ladder all the way from Class-D Hornell to the majors, Wills would repeat his journey.

“I would do it again today,” he said. “I would pay that price.”

It was that proverbial price Wills paid that allowed him to represent the Dodgers at the 2011 MLB Draft. Throughout all of his well chronicled battles with drug abuse, he acknowledged a divinely spirit guiding him along his continued path in baseball.

“Signing for that $130 per month and that meal money, that’s what got me here,” he said. “If I didn’t want to sign for that, I wouldn’t be here. I paid the price all the way, even after getting to the big leagues. That’s the only reason I’m here, not because of myself, but in spite of myself; it was God’s grace. For the Dodgers to ask me to come here to represent them, it’s really flattering.”