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Ron Fairly, who played with USC, Dodgers and Angels, dies at 81

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Ron Fairly, the reliable red-haired outfielder and first baseman who spent more than five decades in baseball – 21 years as a player, first with the Dodgers and finally with the Angels, and 30 more as a broadcaster – died Wednesday in Indian Wells, California, after a year-long fight with pancreatic cancer. He was 81.

Graduated from the Long Beach Jordan High School and a former USC high, Fairly played his first 11 ½ years (1958-69) in major competitions with the Dodgers, helping the team at three World Series championships, and he closed his playing career finished with the angels in 1978.

"The worst day in a baseball uniform," Fairly wrote in a memoir from 2018 that he was a co-author of the former Times sports writer Steve Springer, "was better than the best day I could have had in another career."

Frankly, a basketball scholarship from John Houten of UCLA was rejected and instead went to USC. He played only one season with the Trojans and beat .348 with a team of nine homers and 67 RBI's as the second fielder to help USC win the 1958 national championship.

On the advice of his father, Carl, who played 11 seasons of the minor league, Fairly rejected an offer of $ 100,000 to sign with the Chicago White Sox to accept a $ 75,000 signing bonus from the Dodgers in 1958. The reason: the Dodgers were close to home and right-fielder Carl Furillo was 36 and approaching his retirement.

By the end of that summer, Fairly had moved through two small competition levels and was promoted to the Dodgers in September. He spent the next 11 seasons with the Dodgers and hit .260 with 90 homers and 541 RBI's. His career was only interrupted by a period of six months of active service in the army in 1960.

Known for its board discipline, a short, compact swing that occasionally created power in all fields and a clear lack of speed, Fairly was not a star in Dodgers teams with features such as Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Duke Snider, Gil Hodges, Maury Wills, Frank Howard and Tommy Davis.

But he made a regular contribution to Dodgers teams who won World Series titles in 1959 over the Chicago White Sox and 1963 over the New York Yankees, and he made his biggest impact after the 1965 season when he won .379 (11 for 29)) with two homers, three doubles and six RBI's in a seven-game World Series winning against Minnesota. From 1946 to 1982, Fairly was one of only three Dodgers players who wore number 6 – the others were Furillo and Steve Garvey.

Fair was traded for Montreal for Manny Mota and Wills on June 11, 1969 and hit .276 with 80 homers and 331 RBI's in six seasons (1969-74) with the Expos. He made the National League All-Star team in 1973.

Reasonably ended his career with short stops in St. Louis, Oakland, Toronto and Anaheim, batted .279 with 19 homers and 64 RBI's and made the National League All-Star team with the Blue Jays in 1977 and batted .217 with 10 homers and 40 RBI & s in 91 matches for the Angels in 1978. He had a career average of .266 with 215 homers and 931 RBI & s in 2,442 matches.

After his playing career, having made the transition to radio and television, he joined KTLA in Los Angeles in 1979 as a sports anchor and Bob Starr, Dick Enberg and Drysdale in the Angels broadcast cabin for the 1980s -86s. He left Southern California to call games for the San Francisco Giants (1987-92) and Seattle Mariners (1993-2006, 2007, 2010 and 2011).

He was recorded at the USC Athletics Hall of Fame in 1997, and with Springer co-authored "Fairly at Bat: My 50 Years in Baseball, from the Batter's # 39; s Box to the Broadcast Booth".

Springer said there was a good cause to Fairly that few saw.

When Hurricane Harvey, a category 4 storm, struck Houston in August 2017, causing catastrophic flooding, Fairly, when 79, rented a truck at Rancho Mirage, filled it with donated food and clothing, drove more than 1,400 miles to Houston, the donations in a warehouse and then turned around and drove back home.

"That was Ron – that's the other side of him who didn't see the audience," Springer said. "When I told him it was amazing what he did, he said," No, that's the kind of man I am. "If someone is in need, I will be happy to help them. & # 39; & # 39;

He is honestly survived by his sons, Steve and Patrick.

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