Blair caught a routine fly by Lou Johnson with two runners on base for the final out in a 1-0 victory in Game 4, and leaped high in the air after the clinching grab to begin Baltimore’s celebration.
Blair led the Orioles in the 1970 World Series with a .474 average in Baltimore’s five-game victory over Cincinnati. That year, he hit three home runs and had six RBIs in a game against the Chicago White Sox.
Beaned by a pitch in late May that season, Blair came back from the injury to boost the Birds. Ever mindful of being hit in the face, he would shield his face at first base when retreating to the bag on pickoff throws.
“It affected his hitting a little bit after that, but not his fielding,” Buford said.
Inducted into the Orioles Hall of Fame in 1984, Blair coached Fordham in 1983 and at Coppin State from 1998-2002. He had a heart attack in December 2009.
Blair played baseball and basketball and ran track at Manual Arts High School in Los Angeles.
Blair was originally drafted by the New York Mets and spent one season in their minor league system. The Orioles drafted him from the Mets in late 1962.
He fit neatly into a team built on strong defense — led by third baseman Brooks Robinson — and pitching, and Baltimore reached the World Series four times in six years. He was surrounded by stars, yet a picture or drawing of Blair often made the cover of the Orioles’ game programs.
Friendly in the clubhouse, he was called “Motormouth” for his constant banter.
“He’d be talking about something, and maybe you’d get two words in, and then he’d be off starting another conversation,” Buford recalled.