Dwight “Red” Adams, a native of Parlier who served as the Los Angeles Dodgers pitching coach throughout the 1970s, died last week.
He was 95.
Born in Parlier and a graduate of the small community’s high school in 1939, Adams served as an area scout for the Dodgers before he was promoted to be the big-league club’s pitching coach from 1969-1980.
“He was a real gentleman,” said Tom Sommers, a former Fresno State and Roosevelt High star who was scouted by Adams and eventually became his friend. “I don’t think he had an enemy.
“He was very humble, really emphasized fundamentals. He knew how to work with people.”
He was a real gentleman. I don’t think he had an enemy.
Tom Sommers on Red Adams
The Dodgers had the lowest ERA in the National League in six of his 12 seasons as pitching coach.
The list of star pitchers on Adams’ staff included National Baseball Hall of Famers Don Sutton and Don Drysdale, All-Stars Bill Singer, Tommy John, Andy Messersmith, Rick Rhoden and Bob Welch, and 1979 Rookie of the Year Rick Sutcliffe, who went on to become a Cy Young Award winner and All-Star.
“Red Adams is a standard by which every pitching coach should be measured,” Sutton said during his Cooperstown induction. “No person ever meant more to me in my career than Red Adams, and without him I wouldn’t be standing in Cooperstown today.”
Adams also played professionally – on the minor league circuit for 19 seasons and eight games in the majors. He won 193 games in his career, including a 21-15 record with a 3.14 ERA for the Double-A Los Angeles Angels in 1945.
As Adams entered his 90s, he dealt with Alzheimer’s disease and moved to Fresno to be closer to family.
Adams passed away on Jan. 19. A funeral service was scheduled for Friday.