Hearts were heavy this morning when it was suddenly announced that former Athletics pitcher Bob Welch had passed away at the age of 57 due to a heart attack.October 5, 2013; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics former pitcher Bob Welch throws out the ceremonial first pitch before game two of the American League divisional series playoff baseball game against the Detroit Tigers at O.co Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports
Welch was a star for Oakland during the late 80’s and early 90’s when the team went to three consecutive World Series. Prior to joining the Athletics in 1988, Welch had already had seven winning seasons for the Los Angeles Dodgers, had won the 1981 World Series with the club and was an All Star in 1980.
But it was with the Athletics that Welch had his best statistical season, in 1990, going 27-6 (the 27 wins are an Oakland record) with a 2.95 ERA which helped earn him his second All Star bid as well as a Cy Young award. Welch was also the last pitcher in the majors to win 25 games. Welch finished his career with a cumulative 211-146 record and a 3.47 ERA.
Welch not only had an impact while playing for his clubs, he went on to work multiple jobs in baseball. He was currently a special instructor for the A’s, mostly with the minor leagues, for the past several years. Prior to that, Welch was a pitching coach for the World Series champion 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks, where he coached alongside current A’s manager, Bob Melvin. Welch also played with current A’s assistants Curt Young and Mike Gallego.
Welch was a beloved figure throughout all of baseball, and that was clearly expressed with the announcement of his death. Some players, coaches and writers took to Twitter to give their condolences as well as remembrances of Welch, who may not have had the career he eventually had, if not for going to rehab for his addiction to alcohol early in his career.
Me: Welchy why do you call a baseball a pill? Bob Welch: Cuz pitchers are doctors man. That hitter is your patient. Dose him! #RIP
Rest in Peace Bob Welch. Thank you for the guidance and inspiration to achieve my dream of reaching the big leagues over the past few years.
Welch’s passing comes a couple months before the 1989 World Series champion Oakland A’s were to be honored at O.Co. That day will surely be tough for the players and many fans who remember Welch.
Condolences to his family and friends. RIP Welchy.