The Brooklyn-born Blefary originally signed with the Yankees, but was sold to Baltimore while still in the minors. He was named Rookie of the Year with the Orioles in 1965 when he hit .260 with 22 HR and 70 RBI.
Nicknamed “Clank” by his teammates for his iron glove, Blefary was tried at first base and then catcher in an effort to keep his bat in the lineup. He caught Tom Phoebus‘s April 27, 1968 no-hitter. He blamed the constant defensive shuffling for his offensive decline. He was traded to Houston in 1969 as part of the deal that brought Mike Cuellar to Baltimore.
Blefary’s last wish was to have his ashes scattered in Memorial Stadium. Although the park was nearly demolished when he passed away in January 2001, his wife Lana fulfilled his request amidst the rubble. Baltimore’s Babe Ruth Museum provided the home plate used in the Stadium’s next-to-last game for the occasion.