FAIRVIEW PARK, Ohio — *EDITOR'S NOTE: The above video is from a previous story.
Through nearly five decades of different players, new stadiums, and even name and logo changes, one thing has remained constant in Cleveland baseball.
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John Adams has banged his big bass drum at nearly every Indians game since August of 1973, helping fire up fans of all ages and seemingly willing the Tribe to many a late-inning rally. He sat in the bleachers through the depths of the team's mediocrity at Municipal Stadium and their 1990s glory years at Jacobs Field, and we all felt he would naturally still be there when the club's new era as the Guardians began this season.
But Adams hasn't been to what is now Progressive Field since 2019, first being kept from the ballpark along with all other fans during the COVID-shortened 2020 season. Though the stands were once again opened up a year later, Adams began to run into problems of his own, with an emergency triple bypass surgery being the first of a slew of health ailments.
"I was laying there and thought I was a goner," Adams told 3News' Dave "Dino" DeNatale following the procedure. "It was sheer determination and the grace of God that I'm still here."
Adams had hoped to return to the stadium last summer, but has faced multiple setbacks, and is currently rehabbing at O'Neill Healthcare in Fairview Park. Yet despite being far from his seats at the corner of Carnegie and Ontario, Adams' love for the team remains as strong as ever.
O'Neill posted photos and videos of Adams Friday as the Guardians prepared for their home opener against the San Francisco Giants. Though looking frail and using a wheelchair, the 70-year-old was still decked from head to toe in new gear, and even gave that famous drum a few good smacks.
As John continues his recovery, the facility is looking to make a collage of fans' pictures and well wishes. These can be sent to O'Neill Healthcare Fairview Park at 20770 Lorain Road, Fairview Park, Ohio 44126.
"I'm the one that's blessed," Adams told us a year ago. "I get to go to ballgames, which I love, beat on a drum and make noise, and I get to meet people from all over the world. How lucky can a guy get?"