A baseball legend with particular connections to the Chicago Cubs, the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Bisbee Bees alike died Thursday.
Dwight “Red” Adams made substantial contributions to the Dodgers organization throughout his remarkable tenure as pitching coach with the club from 1969-80. He also played with the Chicago Cubs and had the distinction, at 95, of being the oldest living Cub.
Long before all that, Adams cut his teeth as a minor leaguer with the Bisbee Bees. Adams was only 17 when he started his pro pitching career with the Bees in 1939 when he went 16-8 as a rookie.
As reported in the Herald/Review this past Sunday, Adams will be one of three former Bees of distinction to be honored at this April’s annual Copper City Classic Vintage Base Ball Tournament.
“Red was the man as far as baseball was concerned,” Friends of Warren Ballpark co-founder Mike Anderson said.
After getting his start with the Bees, which then were a farm club of the Chicago Cubs in the Arizona-Texas League, Adams would spend 41 years in the game.
His playing career included 19 minor league seasons, and eventually an eight-game stint with the Cubs in 1946, in which he allowed 12 runs on 18 hits in his 12 big-league innings.
Most notable was his tenure as pitching coach with the Dodgers.
Adams’ Dodgers pitching staffs had the lowest team ERA in the National League from 1972-75 and again in 1977 and ’78.
“Red Adams was a good pitching coach, no doubt about it,” former Dodgers manager Tommy Lasorda said, according to Dodger Insider’s Jon Weisman. “He knew how to handle pitchers.”
According to TrueBlueLA.com, both the 1977 and 1978 Dodgers media guides use the same quotes from Adams, describing some of his philosophy as pitching coach.
“I want my pitchers to have a good, sound mechanical delivery — one that would get the most out of his body without risking injury to his arm,” Adams said.
“A pitcher is a little bit like a fighter,” Adams added. “He’s working his tail of on every play. He’s got to be in great physical condition.”
Adams will be honored, along with former Bisbee Bees Bert Shepard and Clarence Maddern, at the annual vintage tournament April 8-9 at Warren Ballpark.
Anderson noted earlier this week that Adams’ family had already been planning a trip from their home in California to attend the ceremony.
Bleedcubbieblue.com reports that the title of “oldest living former Cub” now passes to Charlie Silvera, 92, a catcher who spent one season with the Cubs, 1957. Before that he’d been a backup catcher for Yogi Berra with the Yankees for eight seasons.