For the Defense: Eight-time Gold Glove Award Winner Paul Blair to Appear at Hall of Fame Classic

Legends Game to be Held June 20 at Doubleday Field

May 14, 2010
Paul Blair will appear in Cooperstown on Father's Day for the 2010 Hall of Fame Classic. (National Baseball Hall of Fame Library)

COOPERSTOWN, NY – When Paul Blair began his professional baseball career, he envisioned himself as a shortstop.

But once he arrived in the big leagues in 1964, Blair spent the next 17 seasons collecting Gold Gloves for his play in the outfield – and World Series rings for his overall contributions to championship teams.

Blair, who won eight Gold Gloves in center field and four World Series championships, will suit up on Father’s Day at Doubleday Field in Cooperstown in the Hall of Fame Classic. The second-annual Classic Weekend will feature Hall of Famers Gary Carter, Bob Feller, Rollie Fingers, Goose Gossage, Harmon Killebrew, Phil Niekro and Ozzie Smith, along with 20 other former major league stars – like Blair – in a seven-inning exhibition game, with first pitch slated for 2 p.m.

The 2010 Baseball Hall of Fame Classic is co-organized by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum and the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association. Ford Motor Company will be the Presenting Sponsor of the Baseball Hall of Fame Classic.

Blair, who played for the Orioles, Yankees and Reds, was a gifted defensive centerfielder who sparkled as a member of the powerful Orioles teams of the 1960s and 1970s. At the plate, Blair totaled more than 1,500 hits. He was named to two All-Star Games.

Blair thought of himself as a shortstop until his first spring training with the Mets in 1962, when found himself in a long line during an infield drill. Thinking quickly, Blair decided then and there he was an outfielder.

Blair was sent to the Orioles in 1962, and by 1965 he was a 21-year-old regular in center field. In Blair’s 13 seasons in Baltimore, the Orioles advance to the postseason six times and won two World Series titles. Blair added to his personal championship total in 1977-78 as a super-sub with the Yankees.

“I was very fortunate being on the team’s that I played on,” Blair said. “I wound up getting in eight playoffs, six World Series – and we won four of them. Hopefully, I did my part and contributed to us winning.”

Tickets for the Hall of Fame Classic are available online at baseballhall.org or by calling 1-866-849-7770. Tickets are $12.50 for first and third base seats and $11 for outfield seats. A $3.50 handling charge per ticket applies to phone and online orders. Phone orders will be taken Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. EDT and Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. EDT The online ordering system at www.baseballhall.org is available 24 hours per day.

Classic Weekend will feature a slate of family friendly activities, highlighted by the return of the Hall of Fame Classic. Other activities planned for Classic Weekend include the Cooperstown Golf Classic fundraiser for the Museum, a reprise of the popular “Family Catch,” the Youth Skills Clinic hosted by several former major league players, a special Voices of the Game program, and other special programs throughout the Museum.

Among the 20 other recently retired players already committed to participate in the Classic include former major league stars Kevin Bass, Brian Boehringer, Bert Campaneris, Frank DiPino, John Doherty, Don DeMola, Jim Hannan, Jay Johnstone, Jeff Kent, Tim Leary, Bill Madlock, Dickie Noles, Mike Pagliarulo, Dennis Rasmussen, Desi Relaford, Tony Saunders, Lee Smith, Rich Surhoff and Mike Timlin. Additional participants will be announced throughout the spring.

The Hall of Fame Classic will be preceded by the Cooperstown Game Day Parade, presented by the Cooperstown Chamber of Commerce, the village of Cooperstown and the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, beginning at noon on Main Street. Game participants will ride in the parade on their way to Doubleday Field. The Legends Hitting Contest will begin at 1 p.m., followed by the Hall of Fame Classic at 2 p.m.

On Saturday, June 19, the Museum will present the return of “Family Catch” at Doubleday Field from 12-2 p.m. Beginning at 3 p.m., the Hall of Fame and the MLBPAA will present the Youth Skills Clinic at Doubleday Field, featuring former major league players as instructors. At 7 p.m., the Museum will host a roundtable discussion with the seven Hall of Fame members. Advance registration is required for all events. Please call 607-547-0397 for more information.

For more information on Hall of Fame Classic Weekend events, call 1-888-Hall-of-Fame.

Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum