John Adams was a Cleveland institution, and the sound of his drum echoed through the city for almost 50 years. He was the heartbeat of the Cleveland Indians and Guardians, and his drum served as a rallying cry for the team, inspiring optimism and dedication in its fans. On Saturday morning, the sound of bagpipes and drums filled the streets of Cleveland as Adams’ casket was wheeled out of the Cathedral of St. John the Evanglist. It was a fitting tribute for a man who dedicated his life to the Cleveland community.
John Adams was a devoted Cleveland sports fan, attending nearly 4,000 Indians and Guardians games. He banged his bass drum to rally his favorite baseball team at Municipal and Progressive Field until the 2020 pandemic kept fans out of MLB ballparks. Adams’ commitment to Cleveland’s baseball team was so strong that he had his own Wikipedia page titled, “John Adams, drummer.”
Adams was more than just a fan of the game – he was a volunteer in the community. He gave free swimming classes to students with disabilities at Cleveland State for over 40 years, and was a member of the community response team in his hometown of Brecksville. He also entertained children who came to see him drum at Progressive Field by putting peanuts on the drum and making them jump when he hit it.
Adams’ dedication to the Cleveland community was remembered in his eulogy, where his middle name was suggested to be changed to Volunteer. He was praised for his commitment to charitable causes, and for the doctors, nurses, rehab centers and nursing homes that cared for him. His neighbors ran countless errands for Adams and staged an opening day parade for him when he couldn’t make it to Progressive Field in 2021.
John Adams was a beloved member of the Cleveland community, and his drum beat will be remembered in Greater Cleveland for years to come. The John J. Adams Scholarship Fund was created in his honor to financially support students, individuals and organizations in the arts, including music, dance, visual and industrial art. Donations can be made via check or PayPal at johnjadamsscholarship.org.
John Adams was Cleveland’s heartbeat, strong and steady in good times and bad. He was the game, and his dedication to the Cleveland community will never be forgotten.