Jerry Adair for the Chicago White Sox
- 2B, SS, 3B, 1B
- Casper the Friendly Ghost
- December 17, 1936
- 175 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 9-02-1958 with BAL
Jerry Adair is in the Oklahoma State University record book for having committed four errors in a game, yet he shares the major league record for fewest errors in a season by a second baseman (five, in 1964). He also set marks with 89 consecutive games and 458 chances without an error from July 22, 1964 to May 6, 1965. An average hitter with little power, Adair's flashy glovework kept him in the big leagues for 13 seasons.
Best Season: 1964
Adair committed just five errors (.994) in 153 games at second base. He hit .248 (which was actaully about league-average) with nine homers and 47 RBI from the #8 slot. I'm not sure why he wasn't awarded the Gold Glove. For some reason Bobby Richardson, who made ten more errors than Adair, and got to far less balls, won the honor. Call it the Yankee bias.
Adair set marks with 89 consecutive games and 458 chances without an error, from July 22, 1964, to May 6, 1965.
In 1971, Jerry Adair became one of the first players to pursue a career in the Far East. He hit .300 for Hankyu of the Japanese League, but returned the next season to coach for the Oakland A's.
Jerry Adair was a tough cookie. He once played a game with 11 fresh stitches in his mouth. When he came up in the late 1950s with the Orioles he was a shortstop. But he had to battle Willy Miranda and later Chico Carrasquel for playing time in the revolving Orioles' infield.
In 1961 Adair replaced the immortal Marv Breeding at second base for the O's, forming a youthful DP combination with Ron Hansen. In 1961 and 1962 Adair posted (by far) the two best slugging percentages of his career. Not sure why he never approached them again, but he quickly acquired a reputation as a steady fielder with a light bat. Of course, almost every middle infielder of that era lacked power.
After battling injuries in 1963, the next season he had his finest defensive year, setting records for fewest errors and most consecutive chances and games without a miscue. After July 22, 1964, Adair didn't commit an error. By this time he was part of a very fine defensive infield that included Hall of Famers Luis Aparicio at shortstop and Brooks Robinson at third.
In 1965 the O's seemed poised to break through, led by their defense and pitching. Adair played 157 games, fielded very well, and hit .259 with seven homers and a career-best 66 RBI. But Baltimore finished a distant third despite winning 94 games. The following year they added Frank Robinson and put it all together, winning the World Series. But Adair wasn't part of the celebration. Manager Hank Bauer decided to go with the younger Davey Johnson at second, as the O's traded Adair to the White Sox for reliever Eddie Fisher early in the season.
Adair bounced around to the Red Sox and Royals, playing in five World Series games for Boston in 1967. After losing his job to Cookie Rojas, Adair retired from major league baseball after the 1970 season, just 33 years old.
Prior to his major league career, Adair starred as a jack-of-all-trades for Williston in the Western Canada Baseball League in 1958. Adair led the loop in hitting at .409, tied for the lead in homers with 10, and finished just behind the RBI leader. Also, he was the top fielding shortstop. On the hill, Adair made three starts - all complete game victories. In the playoffs, he was even better. Adair hit .444 in 14 playoff games with four homers and six doubles. In late August, 1958 he helped Williston wrap up the Canadian American League title in the final series over Lloydminster then signed with the Baltimore Orioles and was in the O's lineup three days later.
Adair was also a star on the basketball court at Oklahoma State, where he was the second-leading scorer on the OSU team which reached the 1958 NCAA Midwest Regional final. Adair was one of the starting guards on the '57 team which defeated #1 ranked Kansas and Wilt Chamberlain in a regular season contest. Jerry Adair died in 1987 at the age of 50.