We’re saddened to report that SABR member Bob Welch, 57, has died of a reported heart attack on June 9, 2014, in Seal Beach, California.
Welch won the 1990 American League Cy Young Award after recording a 27-6 mark for the pennant-winning Oakland A’s. Following a 17-year playing career in which he won 211 games and compiled a 3.47 ERA with the Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland A’s from 1978-94, he also served as pitching coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001 when they won the World Series. In recent years, he was a popular minor league pitching instructor in the A’s organization and made his home in the Phoenix area. He was active in local SABR events when his baseball schedule allowed.
“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,” said Diamondbacks President and CEO Derrick Hall, in a statement released by the team. “He impacted many people’s lives in a positive way and he will truly be missed.”
Welch played on five teams that reached the World Series (1978, 1981, 1988, 1989 and 1990), winning two titles in 1981 and 1990. His 27 wins in 1990 tied him with Steve Carlton (1972) for the most in a single season since Denny McLain won 31 games in 1968.
“This is a sad day for the entire A’s organization,” Athletics Vice President and General Manager Billy Beane said. “Those of us who knew Bob as a teammate and a friend will miss him greatly. My condolences go out to his family.”
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.
In retirement, Welch and George Vescey collaborated on Five O’Clock Comes Early: A Cy Young Award-Winner Recounts His Greatest Victory, which chronicled Welch’s battle with alcoholism.
Welch is survived by his sons Riley and Dylan, daughter Kelly, and former wife Mary Ellen. Memorial services are pending.
- Jay Jaffe: Remembering the career of Bob Welch (SI.com)
- Lyle Spencer: Welch remembered as all-around winner, true friend (MLB.com)
- Kimberly Contreras: Welch molding the A’s next generation (Scout.com)
Originally published: June 10, 2014. Last Updated: June 10, 2014.