‘A friend, a father, a mentor’: Dave Roberts’ emotional reaction to Dodgers legend Maury Wills passing away
The baseball world lost a legend, as former Los Angeles Dodgers MVP and three-time World Series champion Maury Wills passed away on Monday night. Wills, who was 89 at the time of his passing, was known for his base-stealing prowess and ability to rack up hits.
However, his most impressive achievements just may have come off of the baseball diamond. Dodgers manager Dave Roberts spoke about how much Wills meant to him in an emotional conversation with reporters on Tuesday, per SportsNet LA.
— SportsNet LA (@SportsNetLA) September 20, 2022
The impact that Maury Wills had on Dave Roberts- and the entire Dodgers community- is clear from this video. Roberts, who appeared to get choked up as he spoke, mentioned how Wills was a “friend, father and mentor” to him.
When asked if he would be sitting there as the Dodgers manager without Wills, Roberts said “probably not.” That’s not the only connection Roberts has to Wills, of course.
Per The Athletic, it was Wills, the first to steal 100 bases in the modern era, whose words of encouragement stuck with Roberts, then a speedy outfielder for the Dodgers. The 1962 NL MVP told Roberts that one day he would have the opportunity to steal a base with the “element of surprise.”
As it turns out, Roberts swiped a base as a pinch runner or the Boston Red Sox in the 2004 playoffs, helping to kickstart a historic comeback against the New York Yankees. And the words of his former mentor Wills weren’t far from his mind.
Clearly, Maury Wills was a special part of Dave Roberts’- and many others’ lives.