Andre back in the saddle…
As you all know by now, Andre Ethier and the Dodgers settled, which is always a best-case scenario. I know that there are a ton of Ethier fans on Inside the Dodgers and you have been very vocal about wanting to avoid arbitration, which we all did. It looks like our favorite food critic will be making a great salary this year while still finding a way to find a middle ground with the club. Hopefully, he can send in a new review for Dining with Dre soon.
The rest of the day here was filled with more workouts, including some bunting practice for the pitchers. Team historian Mark Langill weighs in regarding one of the best bunters in baseball history, Maury Wills:
Fifty years ago, Maury Wills spent spring training in 1959 with the Detroit Tigers, which selected the journeyman infielder in the previous winter’s minor league draft. But the Tigers opted not to keep Wills for the $40,000 fee, so he returned to Triple-A Spokane to begin the regular season.
Wills received a surprise promotion to Los Angeles in June after general manager Buzzie Bavasi noticed a hole on the top of Don Zimmer’s baseball shoe while standing near the batting cage. Zimmer was hiding a broken toe. Wills batted .260 in 83 games for Los Angeles to help the Dodgers win their first championship on the West Coast.
Zimmer was long considered by Bavasi and other Dodger brass as the eventual replacement for longtime shortstop Pee Wee Reese, who retired after the 1958 season. But Spokane manager Bobby Bragan, who suggested Wills learn to switch-hit in 1958, thought the speedy Wills had the potential to be a star.
“(Wills) did a fairly good job wherever he was sent, but he was never spectacular,” Bavasi wrote of Wills’ first eight seasons in the Dodger minor league system from 1951 to 1958. “Nor did he figure in the Dodger plans. I once made the statement if I had someone offered me $11 and a bag of potato chips for Maury’s contract, I’d have sold him.”
Wills, the 1962 National League MVP, stole 586 bases during his 14-year career.