Friday, December 27, 2013

One by one


Seems my favorites are passing all the more frequently as they (and I) get up in age. In the past year or so it has been Mike Cuellar and Earl Weaver and I saw today that Paul Blair has died.

In my eye Blair has had no equal when it comes to playing centerfield. His ability to go back on balls hit over his head allowed him to play so shallow that he could take away bloop shots that would normally fall in for hits.

I'm sure in the next day or so some of his contemporaries on the Orioles, particularly the pitchers, will remark on how Blair helped them win. My Dad, who saw a lot of baseball, said Blair was as good as anyone he'd ever seen as an outfielder. High praise from my Yankee fan ol' man.

My favorite memory of Paul Blair comes from the very first post-season game I ever attended in person, Game One of the 1969 ALCS in Baltimore. Blair won the game for the Orioles with a perfect two out bunt in the bottom of the 12th that scored Mark Belanger.

What a thrill it was to be there that afternoon. I'll never forget that day.