Former outfielder Blair dies at 79
Updated On: Dec 27 2013 12:21:45 AM CST
Paul Blair, among the best defensive center fielders in baseball history, died Thursday in Pikesville, Md., at 69.
His wife, Gloria Blair, told the Baltimore Sun that Paul Blair played golf Thursday morning, then collapsed during a celebrity bowling event that evening.
The newspaper reported that Blair had a stent inserted after a 2009 heart attack.
Blair earned seven Gold Gloves for defensive excellence during his career. Only seven outfielders earned more.
An Oklahoma native who attended high school in Los Angeles, Blair played 17 years in the major leagues (1964-80), the first 13 with the Baltimore Orioles. He subsequently spent parts of four seasons with the New York Yankees and part of one season with the Cincinnati Reds.
Blair was an All-Star in 1969 and 1973, and he played on World Series-winning teams for Baltimore in 1966 and 1970 and then for New York in 1978.
Over 1,947 career games, Blair batted .250 with a .302 on-base percentage and a .382 slugging percentage. He hit 134 home runs, drove in 620 runs and stole 171 bases.
Blair's successor at center field with the Orioles, Al Bumbry, told the Sun, ""He taught me a lot, a lot about playing. He always made me feel comfortable. It wasn't like we were competing for the same position. He played very shallow and I would always marvel about how he played as shallow as he did and how well he could go back on balls."
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