Bob Welch, a former Cy Young Award winner and the last Major League pitcher to win at least 25 games in a season, died Monday night of a heart attack at the age of 57.
Welch, a two-time All-Star who posted a 27-6 record as the Cy Young Award winner on the Athletics’ 1990 American League championship team, died in Seal Beach, Calif.
“We are deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Bob Welch,” said A’s president Michael Crowley. “He was a legendary pitcher who enjoyed many of his best seasons with the Oakland A’s. He will always be a significant part of our franchise’s history, and we mourn his loss. We send our greatest sympathies to his family and friends.”
“This is a sad day for the entire A’s organization,” said Billy Beane, the A’s vice president and general manager. “Those of us who knew Bob as a teammate and a friend will miss him greatly. My condolences go out to his family.”
In 17 seasons in the Majors, Welch compiled a 211-146 record (.591) and 3.47 ERA with the Los Angeles Dodgers (1978-87) and Athletics (1988-94). He was a prominent member of Oakland teams that won three straight American League pennants in 1988-90, including the 1989 club that swept the San Francisco Giants in a World Series that was interrupted by an earthquake. It has been 24 years since he became the last pitcher to win at least 25 games in a season.
Welch won 115 games for the Dodgers and was a member of the 1981 World Series champions, and will be remembered for striking out Reggie Jackson to end Game 2 of the 1978 World Series, won by Los Angeles, 4-3.
“The Los Angeles Dodgers are saddened to learn of the passing of Bob Welch,” Dodgers president and chief executive officer Stan Kasten said. “He was one of the greatest competitors to wear the Dodger uniform. Dodger fans will always remember his confrontation with Yankee great Reggie Jackson in Game 2 of the 1978 World Series, when the 21-year-old rookie struck out Jackson to end the game.”
Welch also was the pitching coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks when they won the 2001 World Series, and has served as a special instructor for the A’s in recent years, working on the Minor League level as well as visiting Major League camp during Spring Training. His son Riley was selected by the A’s in the 34th round of the 2008 MLB First-Year Player Draft.
“This is a tragic and sad day, as Bob Welch will be remembered by everyone who knew him as a great teammate and a great friend,” D-backs president and CEO Derrick Hall said. “Though he was on our Major League coaching staff for just one season, it was certainly memorable, as he guided our pitching staff to a world championship and will always be a part of our history. Not only did he have a distinguished playing career, but as a coach at Arizona State University and then with the D-backs, he impacted many people’s lives in a positive way and he will truly be missed.”
He is survived by his sons Dylan (25) and Riley (23), daughter Kelly (18) and former wife Mary Ellen. Memorial services are pending.
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Source: Santa Clarita News