Former Orioles OF Paul Blair passes away

Rob Carr

Eight-time Gold Glove-winning outfielder Paul Blair passed away on Thursday at the age of 69.

Longtime major league outfielder Paul Blair passed away on Thursday after collapsing in a bowling alley in Pikesville, Md., according MASN's Roch Kubatko. Blair was 69.

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Blair played in the big leagues for 17 seasons, 13 of which came with the Baltimore Orioles. He won eight Gold Glove awards, including seven straight from 1969 to 1975. Blair finished his career 176 runs above average in the outfield, per Baseball-Reference.

The Orioles won a pair of World Series championships and secured four American League pennants during Blair's tenure with the team.

The native of Cushing, Okla., ended his playing career in 1980 and went on to spend several years as a coach in the minor leagues as well as at the independent and college levels, most recently in 2002 at Coppin State University.

Blair suffered a heart attack in December of 2009, wrote Mike Klingaman of the Baltimore Sun in 2010, but got back on his feet after four months of physical therapy. He enjoyed golfing and bowling in his later years, in addition to some ribbing of his beloved former team, which snapped a 15-year postseason drought in 2012:

"In my day, the Orioles won because we didn't make mistakes. This team makes them over and over, and nobody corrects them ... I could take the Orioles today and make them a better ball club. I know, in my heart, that I could turn this team around."

Blair posted a 96 OPS+ in more than 6,600 plate appearances spanning 1,947 big-league games with the Orioles, New York Yankees and Cincinnati Reds.

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