Long-time Mariners voice Fairly passes away

October 30th, 2019

SEATTLE -- Long-time Mariners broadcaster Ron Fairly, who spent nearly 50 years in Major League Baseball as a player and broadcaster, died early Wednesday morning at the age of 81 in Palm Springs, Calif., after dealing with esophageal cancer in recent years.

Fairly worked 17 seasons with the Mariners as a color commentator and play-by-play broadcaster on both television and radio. He served as a full-time member of the broadcast crew from 1993-2006, continued helping as an occasional fill-in in '07 and '10, then was part of a rotating group of announcers in the radio booth in '11 following the death of play-by-play man Dave Niehaus.

“Ron was not only a great broadcaster, he was a great friend,” said Mariners broadcaster Rick Rizzs, who worked alongside Fairly for all but the first two of those years in Seattle. “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.

“Dave, Ron and I spent a lot of hours together travelling, dining and calling baseball games, and Ron’s passion for the game, his love of his family and his loyalty to his friends always stood out to me.”

Fairly played for 21 seasons in the Majors from 1958-78, hitting .266 with 215 home runs and 1,044 RBIs. He was a two-time All-Star (in 1973 with the Expos and '77 with the Blue Jays) and played in four World Series with the Dodgers during the first 12 years of his career, helping win three championships.

The California native also played with the Cardinals, Athletics and Angels in a career that spanned 2,442 games. He got into broadcasting with the Angels the year after retiring as a player, and he worked in their booth until shifting to the Giants in 1987 and Mariners in '93.

“Ron was a key voice in our history,” said Mariners president and 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 was preceded in death by his wife, Mary.