'Perfect Practice Makes Perfect': Legendary Dodger Maury Wills Looks Back

Jun 11, 2014

Legendary Los Angeles Dodgers shortstop Maury Wills is coming to Chattanooga on Tuesday, June 17th to be the keynote speaker at the 2014 Southern League All-Star Luncheon.  This year, the Chattanooga Lookouts will host the Southern League All-Star game, with the game itself on the 17th at AT&T Field, and a home run derby happening on July 16th at historic Engel Stadium.

Maury Wills and Lookouts President and General Manager Rich Mozingo appear in this segment to talk about how the all-star game luncheon will benefit the RBI Program of Chattanooga, which brings baseball to inner-city children.

Wills also discusses highlights of his career--a legendary shortstop known for stealing bases, he explains his "perfect practice" philosophy, and reveals his struggle with drug addiction after his baseball career ended, explaining how he got clean and now uses his story to inspire others.

From the Web site of the Chattanooga Lookouts:

The Chattanooga Lookouts are excited to announce that Dodgers' great Maury Wills will be the keynote speaker at the 2014 Southern League All-Star Luncheon, presented by EPB Fiber Optics and Coca Cola, on June 17th at 12:00 p.m. EST. The luncheon will be held at the Chattanooga Convention Center and tickets to this special event are $30 with all proceeds benefiting the RBI Program of Chattanooga. To reserve a spot to the All-Star Luncheon, contact All-Star Coordinator Morgan Billups by phone at 423-267-2208 or by email at mbillups@lookouts.com.

Wills began his historic Major League career on June 6, 1959 when he made his MLB debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers. The speedy shortstop had an immediate impact on the big league level, leading the league with 50 stolen bases in his first full season. Two years later, Wills set a new Major League record with 104 steals. The mark broke Hall of Famer Ty Cobbs' previous record of 96 and helped Wills beat out baseball legend Willie Mays for the 1962 National League Most Valuable Player Award. 

Three years after his record-setting season, Wills stole 94 bases at the age of 32. After spending time with the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Montreal Expos, the shortstop finished his career with the Dodgers and retired from the game in 1972 as the team's all-time stolen base leader. 

"It's an honor and a privilege to have an all-time Dodgers' great come to Chattanooga and participate in the All-Star Festivities," said Chattanooga Lookouts President and General Manager Rich Mozingo. "Maury had a profound impact on the game of baseball and we are eager to show him what the Scenic City has to offer."

The two-time Gold Glove award winner headlines the Luncheon that also gives patrons the chance to mingle with the Southern League's top players. Joining Wills and the Southern League All-Stars at the luncheon will be the team's managers, coaches and the game's umpires. Attendees of the event will have the chance to sit and enjoy a meal with some of the top prospects in the game while benefitting a great cause. All of the proceeds from the event will help fund uniforms, equipment and travel for the RBI Program.   

"We think it makes perfect sense for us to partner with established programs such as the Chattanooga Lookouts and Major League Baseball's RBI program," said Greta Hayes, the City of Chattanooga's Director of Recreation for the Department of Youth and Family Development. "This unique experience will help create meaningful mentoring opportunities and show our young people the steps it takes for many players to achieve their dreams."

This year's luncheon is just one part of the 2014 Southern League All-Star Events. On June 16, the Lookouts are hosting a Fan Fest and Home Run Derby at Historic Engel Stadium at 7:00 p.m.  

Tickets for the All-Star Events are on sale now and can be purchased at www.lookouts.com. Fans will be able to purchase general admission tickets to the game for $9 ($7 for children and seniors), upper box tickets for $11, lower box for $15 and Home Run Derby/Fan Fest tickets for $5. 

To get a sneak peak of some of this year's All-Stars, make sure to check out the Chattanooga Lookouts' next homestand which begins on May 10 against the Huntsville Stars. Tickets for any of those five games and for the rest of the season are on sale now at the box office or available over the phone by calling (423) 267-4TIX.