The greatest baseball player ever to come out of D.C., Wales grew up as seventh out of 13 children in a Parkside public housing project in the Northeast. He said he initially dreamed of becoming a professional baseball player after he met Washington Senate number two Jerry Brady at a youth clinic in the 1940s.
“I was barefoot and he said to me, ‘Do you not have thorns?'” “I remembered Wills in 1975.” “Tell your guys to get you; you’re a good little player. So he was always my favorite.”
For many years during his retirement, Wills returned to DC to hold clinics and summer camps. There is a baseball field named in his honor across Georgia Street from Howard University.
Wales, Cardozo’s top quarterback, received nine offers of scholarships to play college football, but was signed instead with the Dodgers. Wills spent nearly a decade as a minor, learning to change strikes, before making his major league debut at the age of 26 in 1959. He was the Dodgers’ first-team debut in the season, which culminated in a World Championship win. Above the Chicago White Sox.
Over the next 13 years, Wills tortured pitchers at his breakneck speed at the top of the lineup. He led the NL in stolen bases for the first of six straight seasons in 1960 and was named to his first of seven all-star teams in 1961. Dodgers manager Walter Alston named Wills the Dodgers’ first black captain before the 1962 season, which was the best of his career. She played Wills at every game that year and was able to shrug off the racist taunts and hate messages he received on a daily basis when he came close to Ty Cobb’s stolen one-season record set in 1915.
“It was a little sad, but I had a goal – I wasn’t going to let anything bother me, and I had a friend take some of that pressure off me anyway. We helped each other,” Wells told The Post in 2009, referring to Sandy Kovacs, who The antisemitic slurs endured, to the Dodgers, who suffered from the antisemitic insults Wills, who blew up the stolen 96-base Cope sign, said he and Kovacs would occasionally open each other’s mail and throw the most hateful notes away.
Before inducting him into the DC Sports Hall of Fame in 2015, Wills recalled the best baseball memory of his career: sleeping at his parents’ house the night before the 1962 All-Star Game, which was held at DC Stadium.
“The team hotel was Uptown, but I chose to go home to stay with my family,” He said the commandments. “I came back and stayed with my folks all night and shared with everyone how I felt when I was on a big baseball team.”
When the 5-foot-11, 165-pound Wills arrived on the field the next day, the security guard didn’t recognize him, decided he was too small to be a ball player and initially denied him entry. The situation was eventually sorted out, and after Wills was named player of the game with a stolen base and twice in a 3-1 NL win, he made sure to show his trophy to the goalkeeper.
“He still didn’t believe me. He thought I might have had it for someone,” Wells said. “I’ll always remember that.”
The Dodgers traded wills with the Pittsburgh Pirates after the 1966 season. He switched teams again after being selected by the Montreal Fair in the 1968 expansion draft but traded back to Los Angeles in 1969.
After retiring in 1972, Wells spent five years as an analyst at NBC. He was hired to replace Daryl Johnson as manager of the Seattle Mariners in the second half of the 1980 season and was fired in May 1981 after the Mariners started the 6-18 franchise. Wills would struggle with cocaine and alcohol addiction until she got sober in 1989.
Wills later returned to the Dodgers as head coach in the spring and made an impression on manager Dave Roberts, who was the team’s defensive player from 2002 to 2004.
Roberts, who wears No. 30 in honor of Wales, “has just loved baseball, loved work and loved the relationship with the players,” For the Los Angeles Times. “We spent a lot of time together. He showed me how I value my profession and what it means to be a top rider. He just loves to teach. So I think a lot in terms of the excitement, my passion and my love for the players is from Morey.”