At the age of 21, he was pitching for the Minneapolis Keystones. He left the Keystones halfway through the 1911 season and went to play for the Chicago Giants. He played outfield and pitcher and played from 1911–1937, mostly playing for teams in Chicago and Kansas City, Missouri.
After his playing career ended, he also umpired in the Negro American League, including one game of the 1942 Colored World Series.
McNair died in Kansas City, Missouri on December 2, 1948, at the age of 60. He is buried at the Highland Cemetery in Kansas City, Missouri.