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Former major leaguer Paul Blair dies at 69

The three-sport star from Manual Arts High in Los Angeles was an eight-time Gold Glove center fielder who won four World Series championships, two each with the Orioles and Yankees.

December 26, 2013|Wire reports

Paul Blair, the eight-time Gold Glove center fielder who helped the Baltimore Orioles win World Series titles in 1966 and 1970, has died. He was 69.

Blair died Thursday night at Sinai Hospital of Baltimore, according to a hospital spokeswoman.

Blair played baseball and basketball and ran track at Manual Arts High in Los Angeles.

Blair's wife, Gloria, told The Baltimore Sun, that Blair played a round of golf with friends Thursday morning and later lost consciousness at a celebrity bowling tournament in Pikesville.

"Paul was honestly too tired, but he never says no," Gloria Blair told the newspaper. "During a practice round, he threw two or three balls, then sat down and told a friend, 'I feel funny' and kind of collapsed. He lost consciousness and they called 911 and the ambulance took him to (Sinai), but the doctors there told me they never got a pulse."

Blair was with the Orioles from 1964-76. He then played for the New York Yankees — winning World Series in 1977 and 1978 — and the Cincinnati Reds.

In 17 seasons in the majors, he hit .250 with 134 home runs, 620 RBIs and 171 stolen bases. Blair appeared in six World Series, two All-Star games and won Gold Gloves in 1967 and 1969-75.

In the 1966 World Series, Blair homered for the only run in Baltimore's Game 3 victory over Los Angeles. The Orioles swept the Dodgers for their first championship.

Blair led the Orioles in the 1970 World Series with a .474 average in Baltimore's five-game victory over Cincinnati. That season, he hit three home runs and had six RBIs in a game against the Chicago White Sox.

Inducted into the Orioles Hall of Fame in 1984, Blair coached at Fordham in 1983 and at Coppin State from 1998-2002. He had a heart attack in December 2009.

James selected male athlete of the year by AP

LeBron James of the Miami Heat is the Associated Press' 2013 Male Athlete of the Year, becoming the third basketball player to capture the award in its 83-year history.

James received 31 of the 96 votes cast in a polling of news organizations. Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning had 20 votes to finish second; NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson was third with seven. In all, 15 other athletes received at least one vote.

"I'm chasing something, and it's bigger than me as a basketball player," James told the AP. "I believe my calling is much higher than being a basketball player. I can inspire people. Youth is huge to me. If I can get kids to look at me as a role model, as a leader, a superhero … those things mean so much, and that's what I think I was built for. I was put here for this lovely game of basketball, but I don't think this is the biggest role that I'm going to have."

James joins Michael Jordan and Larry Bird as NBA players to win the award. Jordan won in 1991, 1992 and 1993. Bird won in 1986.

James led the Heat to its second straight NBA championship in 2013, winning his fourth most-valuable-player award and second NBA Finals MVP award along the way.

Serena Williams was this year's Female Athlete of the Year, announced Wednesday.

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Wimbledon champion Andy Murray lost his comeback match from a three-month injury layoff in the opening round of the Mubadala Championship at Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Murray lost, 7-5, 6-3, to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in 72 minutes.

Tsonga will meet Novak Djokovic in the semifinals of the exhibition event Friday, and Rafael Nadal will take on Spanish compatriot David Ferrer in the other semifinal.

Ferrer beat Stanislas Wawrinka of Switzerland, 7-5, 6-1.

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Providence's Jon Gillies made 23 saves to help the United States open its world junior hockey title defense with a 5-1 victory over the Czech Republic at Malmo, Sweden.

Miami of Ohio's Riley Barber, Denver's Will Butcher, Minnesota's Hudson Fasching, Colorado College's Jaccob Slavin and Notre Dame's Vince Hinostroza scored for the United States.

In the other Group A game, Anthony Mantha scored three goals in Canada's 7-2 victory over Germany.

The U.S. will play Slovakia on Saturday, Germany on Sunday, and finish group play Tuesday against Canada.

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Former Pittsburgh Steelers linebacker Mike Merriweather filed a federal lawsuit claiming he was fired from his promotions job with a western Pennsylvania casino because of perceptions about his race.

Merriweather, now 53, was a Pro Bowl linebacker for the Steelers during the 1980s, and contends the casino's white management made disparaging remarks, sometimes in jest, about him being potentially violent because he's black.

Merriweather's lawsuit contends he was hired in April 2011 by Sean Sullivan, the Meadows' vice president and general manager.

rriweather's lawsuit contends he was hired in April 2011 by Sean Sullivan, the Meadows' vice president and general manager.

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