|ADAIR KEY TO
Neil Singelais, Globe Staff The Boston Globe
ADAIR KEY TO PENNANT
Byline: Neil Singelais, Globe Staff
Jerry Adair, who died of liver cancer at 50 Sunday in Tulsa, Okla., played a key role as a utility infielder in the 1967 Red Sox' "Impossible Dream."
Adair was a steadying influence at shortstop on a young infield of Mike Andrews, Joe Foy and George Scott during the pennant drive after Rico Petrocelli was sidelined for a month with an injury. He didn't make an error during that time as the Sox went 19-9.
Adair was acquired in early June in a trade with Baltimore for pitchers Don McMahon and Rob Snow. The Sox were 22-21 before he joined them. They were 70-49 with him. He batted .291 in 89 games, playing three infield positions.
"It was one the best baseball trades ever made," said Russ Gibson, a catcher on the team. "No one could pivot as well as Jerry on a double play ball. He could play anywhere and he was a tough guy to get out."
Jim Lonborg, then the pitching ace and now a dentist in Scituate, said the trade that brought Adair to Boston "was like adding a gem to a beautiful necklace. He did such a magnificant job for us. He was a quiet guy around the clubhouse. He was so invaluable, older and more experienced."
Adair spent 13 years in the majors, eight with the Orioles during which he set two fielding records. In one stretch, he accepted 458 consecutive chances without an error. In 1964, he played 89 consecutive games at second base without an error and finished with a .994 average.
Funeral services for Adair, one of the finest athletes to play at Oklahoma State University, where he excelled in basketball as well as baseball, will be held today in Sand Springs, Okla., his birthplace. SINGEL;06/01 LDRISC;06/03,16:24 ADAIR