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Jerry Adair
Second baseman / Shortstop
Born: December 17, 1936(1936-12-17)
Sand Springs, Oklahoma
Died: May 31, 1987 (aged 50)
Tulsa, Oklahoma
Batted: Right Threw: Right 
MLB debut
September 2, 1958 for the Baltimore Orioles
Last MLB appearance
May 3, 1970 for the Kansas City Royals
Career statistics
Batting average     .254
Hits     1,022
Runs batted in     366
Career highlights and awards

Kenneth Jerry Adair (December 17, 1936 – May 31, 1987[1]) was a professional baseball player for the Baltimore Orioles, Chicago White Sox, Boston Red Sox, and Kansas City Royals[2] from Sand Springs, Oklahoma.


Baltimore Orioles

Adair was signed by the Baltimore Orioles out of Oklahoma State University on September 2, 1958 for a $40,000 bonus. he made his Major League Baseball debut with the club that day against the Washington Senators, coming into the game in the bottom of the 8th inning as a defensive replacement for shortstop Chuck Oertel. He did not get an at bat in the game. Adair's first big league at bat came a few days later - September 5 - against the Boston Red Sox. After drawing a walk and scoring in the 8th inning, Adair reached base again in the ninth inning on a fielder's choice. He picked up his first big league hit (a single to left field) in a 3-2 Orioles win over the visiting New York Yankees on September 21. That season, he hit .105 (2-for-19) in 11 games with the Orioles, primarily playing shortstop.

He hit .314 (11-for-35) in 12 games in 1959 and went 1-for-5 (.200) in 3 games in 1960[3].

Adair's first full season in the big leagues came in 1961 with the Orioles, hitting .264 with 9 home runs and 37 RBI in 133 games. Although the majority of his time was spent at second base, he also played some shortstop and third base that year.

Once, during the 1964 season, he was struck in the mouth by a bad throw during the first game of a doubleheader with the Detroit Tigers. The resulting laceration required 11 stitches, but Adair was back in the park in uniform in time to play the entire second game.

In 1965, 28-year-old Adair hit .259 with 7 home runs and a career-high 66 RBI in 157 games with the Orioles. He was among American League leaders with 157 games (8th in the AL), 582 at bats (10th in the AL), 26 doubles (7th in the AL), 115 singles (10th in the AL) and 6 sacrifice flies (8th in the AL). As a result, Adair finished 17th in the AL MVP vote that was won by Zoilo Versalles of the Minnesota Twins.

Chicago White Sox

On June 13, 1966, Adair was traded by the Orioles with John Riddle to the Chicago White Sox for Eddie Fisher.

Boston Red Sox

On June 2, 1967, Adair was traded by the White Sox to the Boston Red Sox for Don McMahon and minor leaguer Bob Snow. Adair played well down the stretch with the Red Sox, hitting .291 with 3 homers and 26 RBI in 89 games, rounding out his season stats to .271 with 3 HR and 35 RBI in 117 games. With his pennant push performance at the plate, coupled with stellar defensive play, Adair finished 15th in the AL MVP balloting. Teammate Carl Yastrzemski won the award that year after claiming the elusive triple crown.

Kansas City Royals

Adair was taken by the Kansas City Royals with the 51st pick of the 1968 expansion draft. In the Royals' inaugural season of 1969, the 32-year-old Adair hit .250 with 5 home runs and 48 RBI in 126 games.

In 1970, Adair hit just .148 (4-for-27) before being abruptly released on May 12 as he was about to board a plane to make a road trip to Cleveland with the team. Adair had spent much of spring training that year with a young daughter who had terminal cancer (she died a few weeks after his release) and claimed the Royals let him go without taking the family's problems into consideration.

Career, Achievements and Trivia

Adair was a .258 hitter for his career (Carl Yastrzemski wrote in his autobiography 'Baseball, The Wall, and Me' "That man was one of the coolest clutch hitters I had seen") and was able to hang around for thirteen seasons on the strength of a fantastic glove. He was considered a gamer who would often play when injured as well as one of the best defensive second baseman of his era. Adair set then-Major League records for single-season fielding percentage (.994) and fewest errors (5) in 1964 and following that up by leading the league in fielding percentage again in 1965. He also set a record for consecutive errorless games by a second baseman (89) and consecutive chances handled without an error (458) from July 22, 1964 through May 6, 1965.

After leaving Major League Baseball, he played in Japan for a year and later coached for the Oakland Athletics (1972-1974) and the California Angels (1975).

Adair died of liver cancer on May 31, 1987 in Tulsa, Oklahoma, at the age of 50. He is buried in Woodland Memorial Park Cemetery in Sand Springs, Oklahoma.


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