Rob Picciolo, former first-round selection for the Oakland Athletics and the longest-tenured coach in San Diego Padres history, passed away Wednesday. He was 64.
The Padres released the following statement:
“The San Diego Padres are deeply saddened by the news of the unexpected passing of Rob Picciolo. Peach dedicated a decade and a half to our organization and was a tremendous asset as a coach, but more significantly, as a person. We send our heartfelt sympathy to the entire Picciolo family during this difficult time.”
Picciolo spent over 15 years within the Padres organization following a nine-year stint as a major league player. Of those nine years, Picciolo spent seven of those seasons as a middle infielder for the Oakland Athletic organization following his selection as the fourth pick in the first round of the 1975 Secondary draft.
A Pepperdine University alum, Picciolo played a total of 537 games for the Oakland Athletics from 1977-1982. Just missing out on the three-peat team of the early 70s, Picciolo only sniffed postseason glory with Oakland in 1981, playing in a single game against the Kansas City Royals and two against the New York Yankees. In 1982, Picciolo was traded to the Brewers organization where he would be a part of its American League Championship team. However, Picciolo would not take a single swing with the Brewers during their postseason run. He played another season in Milwaukee before signing with the then-Anaheim Angels in-between stints with Oakland. He would go on to finish his career in Oakland at the ripe age of 32 in 1985 after hitting .275 in 71 games, his best season average for a season in which he played more than 70 games.
Picciolo finished his career with a career batting average of .234, 17 homeruns and a 109 RBIs over 731 games played. 16 of his 17 home runs and 98 of his 109 career RBIs would come in the green and gold.
However, as the old adage goes, it’s not always the most impactful players who find their niche in coaching.
After closing the door on his playing career, Picciolo continued to make his mark as a coach in various stages of the game. As Jeff Sanders of The San Diego Union-Tribune reported, Picciolo was a minor league manager, an infield instructor, a first base coach, a bench coach, and a third base coach from 1988 to 2005.
The death has certainly been felt across the league. With tenures in multiple organizations, condolences have flooded in from various spheres of the baseball world. As Bill Center of mlb.com reports, “Peach” as he was affectionately known by the Padres’ organization, was beloved by all that had the pleasure to know him.