Saam was born in Quebec and moved to Detroit as a child, where his father opened an instrument shop. He began studying violin with his father at age four and played violin in his high school orchestra.
He dropped out of school at 17 to join the U.S. Navy during World War II. He had hoped to play in the Navy orchestra, according to the Inquirer; instead he served as a signalman on a cargo ship in the Philippines until the end of the war.
In 1946 Saam began studying violin at the New York School of Music. He graduated in 1948 and played with the Houston Symphony for one year before joining the Detroit Symphony in 1949. In 1957 Saam joined the Philadelphia Orchestra as a first violinist.
Saam was active in the players' unions and head of the Philadelphia Musical Society Local 77 contract-negotiating team, according to the paper. He retired from the orchestra in 1997.
Saam married Eleanor Mehrkamper; their two sons are violin makers. The cause of death was prostate cancer, according to the paper.