BALTIMORE (AP) — Paul Blair, the eight-time Gold Glove center fielder who helped the Baltimore Orioles win World Series titles in 1966 and 1970, has died. He was 69.
Blair died Thursday night at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, according to a hospital spokeswoman.
Blair’s wife, Gloria, told The Baltimore Sun, that Blair played a round of golf with friends Thursday morning and later lost consciousness at a celebrity bowling tournament in Pikesville.
“Paul was honestly too tired, but he never says no,” Gloria Blair told the newspaper. “During a practice round, he threw two or three balls, then sat down and told a friend, ‘I feel funny’ and kind of collapsed. He lost consciousness and they called 911 and the ambulance took him to (Sinai), but the doctors there told me they never got a pulse.”
Blair was with the Orioles from 1964-76. He then played for the New York Yankees — winning World Series in 1977 and 1978 — and the Cincinnati Reds.
In 17 seasons in the majors, he hit .250 with 134 home runs, 620 RBIs and 171 stolen bases. Blair appeared in six World Series, two All-Star games and won Gold Gloves in 1967 and 1969-75.
In the 1966 World Series, Blair homered for the only run in Baltimore’s Game 3 victory over Los Angeles. The Orioles swept the Dodgers for their first championship.
Blair led the Orioles in the 1970 World Series with a .474 average in Baltimore’s five-game victory over Cincinnati. That season, he hit three home runs and had six RBIs in a game against the Chicago White Sox.
Inducted into the Orioles Hall of Fame in 1984, Blair coached Fordham in 1983 and at Coppin State from 1998-2002. He had a heart attack in December 2009.
Blair played baseball and basketball and ran track at Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles.