Jordan alum Ron Fairly had one of the most unique lives of any Long Beach athletes, making his name twice over as a baseball star and as a beloved broadcaster. Fairly died on Oct. 30 after a years-long battle with cancer, at the age of 81.
Fairly grew up in Long Beach in the 1940s and 50s, and played at USC for two years after graduating from Jordan. A two-sport star for the Panthers, Fairly was arguably as gifted a basketball player as he was at baseball, drawing scholarship offers from UCLA basketball coach John Wooden. Fairly opted for USC, where he won an NCAA title in 1958.
Fairly was a left-handed outfield and first baseman who played 21 years in the big leagues, including three World Series titles with the Dodgers.
Fairly was a two-time All Star with the Expos and Blue Jays, and concluded his career with the Angels in 1979. He’s the only player in history to represent both Canadian teams in an All-Star Game, according to the MLB’s obituary.
After retirement, Fairly quickly transitioned to broadcasting, getting his start with KTLA in ‘79 after retiring. He became beloved in Seattle as the Mariners’ broadcaster for 17 seasons.
“Ron was a key voice in our history,” Mariners president and CEO Kevin Mather said in a statement. “He joined our team at the start of an important era of Seattle baseball, beginning the same year as Lou Piniella and bringing over a decade of exciting baseball to our fans on TV and radio. Our thoughts are with his three sons: Mike, Steve and Patrick; and his grandchildren.”
Fairly was preceded in death by his wife, Mary.