Paul Blair, 69, a key member of four Baltimore Orioles World Series teams and considered the best defensive outfielder in franchise history, died Thursday evening in Pikesville while participating in a celebrity bowling tournament, according to the Baltimore Sun.
Gloria Blair, his wife of 42 years, told the newspaper her husband played 18 holes of golf with friends Thursday morning, and when he came home was asked to take part in a celebrity bowling tournament at AMF Pikesville Lanes.
"Paul was honestly too tired, but he never says no," she told the Sun. "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 Hospital], but the doctors there told me they never got a pulse."
Over the years, Blair, a resident of Woodstock in Howard County, worked as an Orioles' spring training instructor and was a fixture at old-timers' events in the Baltimore area, the newspaper said.
Blair spent 13 of his 17 seasons with the Orioles, winning two World Series (1966, 1970) and capturing eight Gold Gloves.
Orioles managing partner Peter Angelos issued this statement on the team's website regarding Blair's passing.
"It is with great sadness that we learned of Paul Blair's passing last evening," Angelos' statement read. "Paul was a key member of many of the Orioles' most memorable and successful teams, as his contributions at the plate and his Gold Glove defense in center field helped the club to two World Series and four AL pennants. After his on-field career, Paul made the Baltimore area his home and stayed involved with the organization through his appearances in the community and at the ballpark. On behalf of the Orioles, I extend my condolences to his wife, Gloria, and his family."
Read more about the life of Paul Blair on the Baltimore Sun website.