John Adams, a Cleveland baseball superfan that served as a ballpark drummer for nearly 50 years, died at 71, the Cleveland Guardians announced Monday. Adams’ drum, a fixture in the outfield bleachers, could be heard at Cleveland home games dating back to the 1973 season.
“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 said in a press 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.”
According to the team, Adams began drumming at home games at Cleveland Municipal Stadium on Aug. 24, 1973 when he was just 21 years old. On that particular day, the Indians defeated the Texas Rangers 11-5 and Adams became a staple at home games following that day.
In a tribute video to Adams that was released by the Guardians, the team stated that his beating of his drum recreated the sound of pounding chairs that had become a fixture of Cleveland’s baseball-watching experience. Adams originally purchased the bass drum that he brought to the games for just $25 at a local garage sale.
“John will always remain a member of Cleveland baseball and a part of the ballpark with his dedicated seat in the bleachers. We will never forget John Adams’ bass drum and how it brought this ballpark to life,” the Guardians said in the tribute video.
During his time in the stands at Cleveland games, Adams drummed at 11 different postseason series and three All-Star Games.