CLEVELAND (WJW) — John Adams, the Cleveland baseball superfan whose drum beat has been heard from the stands for nearly a half-century, has died at 71, the Cleveland Guardians announced on Monday.
“For nearly five decades the beat of John’s drum was the heartbeat of baseball here in Cleveland,” Guardians Senior Vice President of Public Affairs Bob DiBiasio is quoted in a news release. “We are all saddened by John’s passing. His dedication, commitment and passion for our franchise, at both Cleveland Stadium and Progressive Field, was unmatched. John will forever remain a member of our team.”
Adams was a 1969 Parma High School graduate who first started drumming at Cleveland Municipal Stadium games on Aug. 24, 1973, when the Indians beat the Texas Rangers 11-5, according to the team.
His drum beat from the bleachers recreated the sound of pounding chairs that had become part of the Cleveland baseball experience, according to the team’s tribute video. When asked about those bleachers, he said, “I’ve found the perfect place and I love it.”
In his time, he drummed at three All-Star Games, 11 Playoff Series, three World Series and Len Barker’s Perfect Game, according to the release.
But Adams missed the last two home openers due to continuing health issues, FOX 8 reported.
In 2021, Adams announced he had undergone intensive care and several surgeries, including a triple bypass. At the time, he thanked Cleveland baseball fans for their support and urged them to root for the home team.
“When you show up, cheer that Tribe on. I’ll be yelling and screaming at home,” Adams said.
This year, Adams celebrated his 50th season as a Guardians fan. He went to more than 3,700 games in his lifetime.
In August, he was the 12th person to be inducted into the team’s Distinguished Hall of Fame for non-team members. A bronzed drum and his bleacher seat were moved to Heritage Park in his honor.
“I do it for the players. I love the organization,” Adams said, according to the release. “It’s my way of drumming up enthusiasm for the team.”