Ron Fairly

Last updated
Ron Fairly
Fairly in 1969.jpg
Fairly as an Expo at Jarry Park Stadium in 1969.
First baseman / Right fielder
Born: (1938-07-12) July 12, 1938 (age 80)
Macon, Georgia
Batted: LeftThrew: Left
MLB debut
September 9, 1958, for the Los Angeles Dodgers
Last MLB appearance
September 23, 1978, for the California Angels
MLB statistics
Batting average .266
Home runs 215
Runs batted in 1,044
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Ronald Ray Fairly (born July 12, 1938) is a former Major League Baseball player and broadcaster. He either played in or broadcast over 7,000 major league games from 1958 through 2006.

Major League Baseball Professional baseball league

Major League Baseball (MLB) is a professional baseball organization, the oldest of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada. A total of 30 teams play in the National League (NL) and American League (AL), with 15 teams in each league. The NL and AL were formed as separate legal entities in 1876 and 1901 respectively. After cooperating but remaining legally separate entities beginning in 1903, the leagues merged into a single organization led by the Commissioner of Baseball in 2000. The organization also oversees Minor League Baseball, which comprises 256 teams affiliated with the Major League clubs. With the World Baseball Softball Confederation, MLB manages the international World Baseball Classic tournament.

Sports commentator sports broadcaster who comments a live event

In sports broadcasting, a sports commentator gives a running commentary of a game or event in real time, usually during a live broadcast, traditionally delivered in the historical present tense. Radio was the first medium for sports broadcasts, and radio commentators must describe all aspects of the action to listeners who cannot see it for themselves. In the case of televised sports coverage, commentators are usually presented as a voiceover, with images of the contest shown on viewers' screens and sounds of the action and spectators heard in the background. Television commentators are rarely shown on screen during an event, though some networks choose to feature their announcers on camera either before or after the contest or briefly during breaks in the action.

Contents

Early life and college career

Fairly was born in Macon, Georgia, but moved to Southern California when he was three months old, where he grew up. Fairly played varsity baseball for Rod Dedeaux at the University of Southern California (1958), and he made the most of it. He hit .348 with team highs of nine home runs and 67 RBI while lettering as a sophomore center fielder on the 1958 Trojan baseball team which won USC's second College World Series championship. There he was a teammate of future baseball executive and General Manager Pat Gillick. An All-District 8 selection that season, he was signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers as an amateur free agent. After two brief minor league stops, he made the big club late in September 1958.

Rod Dedeaux American baseball player and coach

Raoul Martial "Rod" Dedeaux was an American college baseball coach who compiled what is widely recognized as among the greatest records of any coach in the sport's amateur history.

University of Southern California Private research university in Los Angeles, California, United States

The University of Southern California is a private research university in Los Angeles, California. Founded in 1880, it is the oldest private research university in California. For the 2018–19 academic year, there were 20,000 students enrolled in four-year undergraduate programs. USC also has 27,500 graduate and professional students in a number of different programs, including business, law, engineering, social work, occupational therapy, pharmacy, and medicine. It is the largest private employer in the city of Los Angeles, and generates $8 billion in economic impact on Los Angeles and California.

Home run in baseball, a 4-base hit, often by hitting the ball over the outfield fence between the foul poles without 1st touching the ground; inside-the-park home runs—where the batter reaches home safely while the ball is in play—are possible but rare

In baseball, a home run is scored when the ball is hit in such a way that the batter is able to circle the bases and reach home safely in one play without any errors being committed by the defensive team in the process. In modern baseball, the feat is typically achieved by hitting the ball over the outfield fence between the foul poles without first touching the ground or running to home plate and scoring a point, resulting in an automatic home run. There is also the "inside-the-park" home run where the batter reaches home safely while the baseball is in play on the field.

Professional career

A competitive player and highly disciplined hitter, Fairly had a short and compact swing with occasional power to all fields. With his glove, he was a competent first baseman as well as all three outfield positions, being best suited for right field. His talents were overshadowed by a notorious lack of speed. He is one of very few players to play 1000 games or more in both the outfield and the infield. Fairly played 21 seasons of Major League Baseball, 12 of them with the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he won three World Series titles. In 2442 career games, Fairly had 1913 hits, a .266 batting average with 215 HR and 1044 RBI, while walking 1052 times compared to only 877 strikeouts. He posted a career .990 fielding percentage. Fairly played in four World Series, appearing in 20 games, hitting .300 with 2 HR and 6 RBI, all with the Los Angeles Dodgers. His career home run total is the most in major league history for a player without a 20-home run season.

First baseman defensive position in baseball and softball, played on the far right side of the infield at or near first base

First base, or 1B, is the first of four stations on a baseball diamond which must be touched in succession by a baserunner to score a run for that player's team. A first baseman is the player on the team playing defense who fields the area nearest first base, and is responsible for the majority of plays made at that base. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the first baseman is assigned the number 3.

The outfield is a sporting term used in cricket and baseball to refer to the area of the field of play further from the batsman or batter than the infield, and in association football to players outside the goal.

Los Angeles Dodgers Baseball team and Major League Baseball franchise in Los Angeles, California, United States

The Los Angeles Dodgers are an American professional baseball team based in Los Angeles, California. The Dodgers compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the National League (NL) West division. Established in 1883 in Brooklyn, New York, the team moved to Los Angeles before the 1958 season. They played for four seasons at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum before moving to their current home of Dodger Stadium in 1962.

Los Angeles Dodgers (1958–1969)

Fairly made his Major League Baseball debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers on September 9, 1958, going hitless in three at-bats in a 4-3 loss to the Philadelphia Phillies. The next day, Fairly collected his first career hit, a single off the Phillies Robin Roberts. On September 12, Fairly hit his first career home run off Ron Kline of the Pittsburgh Pirates. Overall with the Dodgers, Fairly played in 15 games, hitting .283 with 2 HR and 8 RBI.

Philadelphia Phillies Baseball team and Major League Baseball franchise in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States

The Philadelphia Phillies are an American professional baseball team based in Philadelphia. The Phillies compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the National League (NL) East division. Since 2004, the team's home has been Citizens Bank Park, located in South Philadelphia.

Robin Roberts (baseball) American baseball player and coach

Robin Evan Roberts was a Major League Baseball starting pitcher who pitched primarily for the Philadelphia Phillies (1948–61). He spent the latter part of his career with the Baltimore Orioles (1962–65), Houston Astros (1965–66), and Chicago Cubs (1966). He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1976.

Ron Kline American baseball player

Ronald Lee Kline was a professional baseball player. He was a right-handed pitcher over parts of seventeen seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates, St. Louis Cardinals, Los Angeles Angels, Detroit Tigers, Washington Senators, Minnesota Twins, San Francisco Giants, Boston Red Sox and Atlanta Braves. For his career, he compiled a 114–144 record in 736 appearances, most as a relief pitcher, with a 3.75 earned run average and 989 strikeouts.

In 1959, Fairly was used mostly as a pinch hitter and a defensive replacement late in games, as in 118 games with Los Angeles, he had only 244 at-bats. During the season, he hit .238 with 4 HR and 23 RBI, helping Los Angeles win the National League pennant and advance to the 1959 World Series. Fairly played in all six games during the World Series, going hitless in three at-bats, as the Dodgers won the series over the Chicago White Sox.

1959 World Series 1959 Major League Baseball championship series

The 1959 World Series featured the National League champion Los Angeles Dodgers beating the American League champion Chicago White Sox, four games to two. Each of the three games played at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum drew record crowds, Game 5's attendance of 92,706 continues to be a World Series record to this day, and one which cannot feasibly be broken in any modern ballpark.

The World Series is the annual championship series of Major League Baseball (MLB) in North America, contested since 1903 between the American League (AL) champion team and the National League (NL) champion team. The winner of the World Series championship is determined through a best-of-seven playoff, and the winning team is awarded the Commissioner's Trophy. As the series is played during the fall season in North America, it is sometimes referred to as the Fall Classic.

Chicago White Sox Baseball team and Major League Baseball franchise in Chicago, Illinois, United States

The Chicago White Sox are an American professional baseball team based in Chicago, Illinois. The White Sox compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League (AL) Central division. The White Sox are owned by Jerry Reinsdorf, and play their home games at Guaranteed Rate Field, located on the city's South Side. They are one of two major league clubs in Chicago; the other is the Chicago Cubs, who are a member of the National League (NL) Central division.

Fairly spent the majority of the 1960 season with the Dodgers AAA affiliate, the Spokane Indians of the Pacific Coast League, as he played in only 14 games with Los Angeles, hitting .108 with 1 HR and 3 RBI.

The Spokane Indians are a Minor League Baseball team of the Northwest League (NWL) and the Class A Short Season affiliate of the Texas Rangers. They are located in Spokane Valley, a suburb of Spokane, Washington, in the Pacific Northwest. The team plays its home games at Avista Stadium, which opened in 1958 and has a seating capacity of 6,752.

The Pacific Coast League (PCL) is a Minor League Baseball league operating in the Western, Midwestern, and Southeastern United States. Along with the International League and the Mexican League, it is one of three leagues playing at the Triple-A level, which is one grade below Major League Baseball. It is officially named the Pacific Coast League of Professional Baseball Clubs, Inc. Its headquarters are in Round Rock, Texas.

In 1961, Fairly played in 111 games with the Dodgers, as he hit .322 with 10 HR and 48 RBI, while spending time between the three outfield positions and first base.

Fairly became the Dodgers everyday first baseman during the 1962 season, as in 147 games, he hit .278 with 14 HR and 71 RBI.

Fairly helped the Dodgers clinch the National League pennant in 1963, as he played in 152 games, hitting .271 with 12 HR and 77 RBI. In the 1963 World Series against the New York Yankees, Fairly played in all four games, however, he was credited with only one official at-bat, as he failed to register a hit, but walked three times as Los Angeles won the series.

Fairly had another solid season with the Dodgers in 1964, batting .256 with 10 HR and 74 RBI in 150 games.

In 1965, Fairly appeared in a career high 158 games with Los Angeles, hitting .274 with 9 HR and 70 RBI, helping the club to their third National League pennant since Fairly joined the team. In the 1965 World Series against the Minnesota Twins, Fairly played a key role in the Dodgers seven game series victory, as he hit .379 with 2 HR and 6 RBI, as Los Angeles won their third World Series title in seven years.

Fairly missed a month of the season due to injuries in 1966, playing in only 117 games, his lowest total since 1961, however, he hit .288 with 14 HR and 61 RBI, helping the Dodgers clinch the National League pennant for the second consecutive season. In the 1966 World Series against the Baltimore Orioles, Fairly hit only .143 with no home runs or RBI in three games, as the Dodgers lost to the Orioles.

In 1967, Fairly struggled offensively, as his batting average dipped to .220, while he had 10 HR and 55 RBI in 153 games.

Fairly continued his struggles throughout the 1968 season, as he hit only .234 with 4 HR and 43 RBI in 141 with the Dodgers.

He began the 1969 season with Los Angeles, however, Fairly continued to struggle with his bat, hitting .219 with 0 HR and 8 RBI in 30 games with the Dodgers. On June 11, Los Angeles traded Fairly and Paul Popovich to the Montreal Expos for Manny Mota and Maury Wills. [1]

Montreal Expos (1969–1974)

After struggling offensively with the Los Angeles Dodgers for the past two seasons, Fairly immediately improved with his move to the expansion team Montreal Expos in 1969, as in 70 games with the Expos, Fairly hit .289 with 12 HR and 39 RBI.

Fairly had a very solid season in 1970, playing in 119 games with the Expos, hitting .288 with 15 HR and 61 RBI, as well as stealing a career high 10 bases.

Fairly saw his batting average fall to .257 in the 1971 season, however, his power numbers remained steady, as he hit 13 HR and 71 RBI in 146 games with Montreal.

He continued his solid play with the Expos in 1972, as Fairly hit .278 with 17 HR and 68 RBI in 140 games.

In 1973, Fairly appeared in his first ever all-star game, as he appeared late in the game during the 1973 Major League Baseball All-Star Game as a defensive replacement. Overall with the Expos, Fairly hit .298 with 17 HR and 49 RBI in 142 games.

During the 1974 season, Fairly lost some playing time, as he appeared in only 101 games with Montreal, hitting .243 with 12 HR and 43 RBI. On December 6, the Expos traded Fairly to the St. Louis Cardinals for Ed Kurpiel and Rudy Kinard.

St. Louis Cardinals (1975–1976)

Fairly spent the 1975 season as a utility player for the St. Louis Cardinals, as in 107 games, Fairly hit .307 with 7 HR and 37 RBI, as he saw his playing time split between first base and as an outfielder.

He started the 1976 season with St. Louis, appearing in 73 games, as he hit .264 with 0 HR and 21 RBI. On September 14, his contract was purchased by the Oakland Athletics.

Oakland Athletics (1976)

Fairly finished the 1976 season with the Oakland Athletics. In 15 games with Oakland, Fairly hit .239 with 3 HR and 10 RBI, as the Athletics finished in second place in the AL West, ending their World Series streak at three. On February 24, 1977, the A's traded Fairly to the Toronto Blue Jays for Gary Weathers and cash.

Toronto Blue Jays (1977)

Fairly split the 1977 season between designated hitter, first base and the outfield, as he played in 132 games with Toronto, hitting .279 with a team leading 19 HR and 64 RBI. He appeared in the 1977 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, and as a pinch hitter, Fairly struck out against Tom Seaver. Fairly is the only player to represent both Canadian MLB teams in the All-Star game. On December 8, the Blue Jays traded Fairly to the California Angels for Butch Alberts and Pat Kelly.

California Angels (1978)

Fairly finished his career with the California Angels in 1978, playing in 91 games, hitting .217 with 10 HR and 40 RBI. He announced his retirement at the end of the season. [2]

Broadcaster

After his playing days, Fairly began his broadcasting career in 1979 at KTLA in Los Angeles and later joined Bob Starr in the California Angels radio/television booth. In 1987, Fairly moved up the coast and could be heard on KNBR as the voice of the San Francisco Giants. In 1993, he went further north as a broadcaster for the Seattle Mariners, where he stayed through the 2006 season. Fairly served primarily as a color commentator, but occasionally stepped in to do play-by-play as well.

In 1997, Fairly was selected to the USC's Athletic Hall of Fame, joining former Trojans Marcus Allen, Buster Crabbe, Charles Dumas, Frank Gifford, Ronnie Lott, Fred Lynn, Tom Seaver and O.J. Simpson, et al.

On September 21, 2006, the Mariners announced that Ron Fairly had decided to retire from his post as team broadcaster after 14 seasons, ending a 27-year career in Major League broadcasting. [3] Coupled with 21 years as a player, Fairly spent 48 years in the Major Leagues.

From June 15 to June 17, 2007, Fairly briefly came out of retirement to work as a television analyst for the Mariners during a three-game interleague series against the Houston Astros, in Houston, due to broadcaster Mike Blowers being on vacation.

From July 15 to July 18, 2010, Fairly broadcast the Mariners' four-game series against the Los Angeles Angels with Rick Rizzs on KIRO 710 to fill in for Dave Niehaus, who was on vacation.

In 2011 Fairly returned once more to the Mariners' radio booth, as one of a rotating group of guest announcers filling in on the broadcasts following Niehaus' death after the 2010 season.

See also

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