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Red Adams, Oldest Living Former Cub, Dies At 95

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After his playing career, Adams became pitching coach for the Dodgers.

Al Campanis, Sandy Koufax, Red Adams and Ron Perranoski at Dodgers spring training in 1979
Sporting News via Getty Images

Charles “Red” Adams didn’t pitch for the Chicago Cubs for very long — just eight games in 1946, when he was 24 years old. Originally signed by the Cubs in 1939, he spent 19 seasons in the minor leagues, throwing over 3,300 innings and winning 193 games, back when pitcher wins actually meant something. Looking at his minor-league record, it’s surprising the Cubs, pretty awful in the late 1940s and early 1950s, didn’t give him more of a chance.

Red Adams died Thursday, aged 95. He was the oldest living former Cub. After his playing career he was hired by the Dodgers as a scout and in 1969, became their major-league pitching coach:

“Red Adams was a good pitching coach, no doubt about it,” [former Dodgers manager Tommy] Lasorda said recently. “He knew how to handle pitchers.”

In seven seasons from 1972–78, the Dodgers led the National League in ERA (1972–75, 1977–78) and finished second the other year (1976).

In another recent interview, former Dodger pitcher Burt Hooton called Adams “the best pitching coach in my lifetime anywhere around.”

The title of “oldest living former Cub” now passes to Charlie Silvera, 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. As you can imagine with Yogi Berra in top form during those seasons (Berra caught at least 137 games every year from 1950-56), Silvera didn’t play much, only once having more than 100 plate appearances in those eight years. Nevertheless, as a part of the Yankees from 1948-56, he got six World Series rings (1949-53 and 1956), even though he played in just one World Series game (Game 2, 1949). Silvera is 92.

The oldest living former Cub of any significance is Irv Noren, who played over 1,000 major-league games from 1950 to 1960, although he also wasn’t a Cub for very long, just 77 games in 1959 and 1960. Noren is also 92, a few months younger than Silvera.

The oldest living former Cub who spent any real length of time with the team is Wayne Terwilliger, who was the team’s regular second baseman in 1950 and part of 1951, when he was included in the trade that sent Andy Pafko to the Dodgers. Terwilliger is 91.