Posts tagged Paul Blair

Paul Blair – Centerfielder Extraordinaire

Paul Blair and Boog Powell, Memorial Stadium, 1970

I am saddened by the passing of Paul Blair, one of my all-time favorite Orioles, who died on Thursday December 26, 2013, in Pikesville, Maryland, where he was playing in his Thursday night bowling league.

I was fortunate enough to have seen Mr. Blair play center field for the Orioles. In my book Deadball, I recount a story (as a remembrance of the protagonist, Byron Bennett) that actually happened to me when I met him outside Memorial Stadium after a game in 1973:

“One of Byron’s most treasured childhood memories was standing in a crush of fans  outside Memorial Stadium after a game as Paul Blair, the Orioles’ fleet-footed center fielder, towered above him, signing his program.  Excited and not wanting the moment to end, Byron handed the program back to Blair, which the center fielder dutifully commenced signing again, until he realized he already had autographed the item, thus leaving half a signature – a second “Paul” – just below his fully signed name.  Although the memories of that day remained with Byron regardless of Memorial Stadium’s ultimate fate, the idea of the Grand Old Lady of 33rd Street becoming another lost ballpark saddened him nonetheless.”

Mr. Blair passed away too soon, but the memories of his grace on the field, and his kindness off the field, will stay with his fans as long as we are around to recall them.