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Longtime Mariners broadcaster and former MLB player Ron Fairly dies

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SEATTLE -- Longtime MLB player and former Mariners broadcaster Ron Fairly has died. He was 81.

“Ron was a key voice in our history,” said Mariners President & CEO Kevin Mather. “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 had a nearly 50-year MLB career as a player and broadcaster, including spending 14 seasons as a color commentator and occasional play-by-play voice on Mariners games on TV and radio.

Fairly joined the Seattle broadcast team in 1993 and remained a full-time member for 14 seasons, retiring from his full-time broadcasting duties following the 2006 season. He worked a Mariners series on TV in 2007, and on radio in 2010, prior to assisting as one of a group of rotating announcers in the Mariners radio booth in 2011 following the passing of Dave Niehaus.

“Ron was not only a great broadcaster, he was a great friend,” said Mariners broadcaster Rick Rizzs. “He loved the game of baseball and everyone in it, and it showed. He was one of the best storytellers I’ve ever been around."

Fairly was born in Macon, Georgia, but was raised in Southern California, graduating from Jordan High School in Long Beach, where he played basketball and baseball. He attended the University of Southern California as a finance major (forgoing a basketball scholarship offer from UCLA’s John Wooden). Fairly was an All-American baseball player at USC, a member of the 1958 National Title team there and was inducted into the USC Hall of Fame in 1997. He was signed by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1958 following the College World Series, and made his MLB debut that same season.

In all, Fairly played 21 seasons in the Majors with the Dodgers (1958-69), Montreal Expos (1969-74), St. Louis Cardinals (1975-76), Oakland Athletics (1976), Toronto Blue Jays (1977) and Los Angeles Angels (1978). In 2,442 games, he compiled a lifetime average of .266 with 215 home runs and 1,044 RBI. He was a two-time All-Star (1973 and 1977) and played in four World Series (1959, 1963, 1965 and 1966) winning three championships (1959, 1963 and 1965). His 215 home runs are the most in MLB history by a player without a single 20-homer season, and he is one of less than a dozen players to appear in over 1,000 games in the infield and in over 1,000 games in the outfield.

Ron began his broadcasting career on KTLA in 1979, and was part of the Angels radio/TV team until 1986. Beginning in 1987 he broadcast for the San Francisco Giants, where he remained until joining Seattle in 1993.

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