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Orioles great Paul Blair dead at 69

Dec. 28, 2013 at 10:14 AM

BALTIMORE, Dec. 28 (UPI) -- Former Baltimore Orioles center fielder Paul Blair died after collapsing at a bowling tournament in Baltimore, his family said. He was 69.

Blair played on four World Series championship teams -- twice with the Orioles and twice with the New York Yankees -- and won eight Gold Gloves for his exceptional defensive play.

Gloria Blair told the Baltimore Sun her husband, who had survived a heart attack in 2009, collapsed during a charity bowling event and died Thursday.

A spokesman for Sinai Hospital in Baltimore confirmed Blair's death but did not list a cause, the New York Times said Saturday.

Blair was a fixture in center field for the Orioles from 1965-1976. His range and keen sense of where the ball was going led Manager Earl Weaver to remark that Blair never made a spectacular catch in center because he never had to -- he was usually in position to make the play look routine.

Blair came off the bench for the Yankees in the 1977 and 1978 World Series seasons. Although never a prolific hitter, his walk-off single in the 12th inning lifted the Yanks to a win in Game One of the 1977 series against the Dodgers.

After retiring in 1980, Blair had stints as the baseball coach at Fordham and Coppin State Universities.

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