An underappreciated player during his time, Fairly was a terrific on-base percentage player with modest pop who could fill in at first base and the outfield corners. A two-time All-Star who represented both Canadian teams in the Midsummer Classic, Ron won three World Series rings with the Dodgers and was a lifetime .300 Fall Classic hitter.
Fairly made his debut in 1958 as a 19-year-old with the Dodgers. Early in his career he had plenty of roadblocks on the Dodger roster. Tommy Davis was hitting the ball extraordinarily, veteran Wally Moon was still hitting around .300, and two young stars named Willie Davis and Frank Howard had just came up to the Majors. Skipper Walt Alston had to find them all paying time somehow. Because of the glut of talent in the outfield, Ron didn’t see semi-regular playing time until 1961 when he paced LA with a .522 slugging average.
In order to keep Ron in the lineup, Alston shifted him to first base in 1962 and he promptly led NL first basemen in his specialty: walks drawn. His Dodgers won the World Series in 1963 with Ron posting an otherworldy on-base percentage of .750 during the Series. In 1964, Ron again paced National League first basemen in walks. The Dodgers went to their third World Series during Ron’s tenure in 1965 as the left-handed hitter posted his fourth straight 70+ RBI season. In top form during the World Series, Fairly hit a robust .379 with a pair of long balls and six RBI.
The Dodgers fell to eighth place in 1967 due in large part to a punchless offense. Although Ron drove in a measly 55 runs during the season, he paced the Dodgers in RBI. In June of 1969, the Dodgers dealt a struggling Ron to the expansion Expos in order to bring back veteran Maury Wills. After the deal Ron caught fire as he slugged .514 for Montreal the remainder of the season.
An injury limited Ron’s 1970 season but he bounced back in ’71 to lead National League first basemen in walks. He posted a neat .373 on-base percentage but in his All-Star campaign of 1973, Ron vaulted his OBP up to .422 (2nd in the NL). The veteran outfielder walked 86 times opposed to just 33 strikeouts in ’73. With the Cardinals in 1975, Ron hit .301 before joining the American League and taking over the DH role with the Blue Jays. An All-Star for Toronto at the age of 38, Ron hit a career high 19 long balls in ’77. H played one final year with the Angels before calling it quits.
G 2,442/R 931/H 1,913/2B 307/3B 33/HR 215/RBI 1,044/SB 35/BB 1,052/SO 877/BA .266/SA .408.OBP .360