Tuesday, June 10, 2014

RIP, Bob Welch

I am both shocked and saddened to find out this morning that former Dodger hurler Bob Welch has died.  He was 57 years old.

He may have had his best season on the mound as an Athletic, but I will always remember him as a Dodger.  Bob Welch was the Dodgers 1st Round Draft Pick (20th overall) in 1977 out of Eastern Michigan University.  The Chicago Cubs had originally drafted him in the 14th Round in 1974, but he chose the collegiate route. 

Welch didn't pitch in the minors for long.  A year after being drafted by the Dodgers he found himself in Dodger Blue, and eventually started his first game against the Reds in late June.  He pitched 6 shut out innings in his first start for a win, and soon worked his way towards being an everyday starter.

In 1978, Welch pitched out of the bullpen in the World Series; having recorded a save in Game 2 and a loss in Game 4.  In 1980, he became an All-Star for the first time.  In 1987, Bob Welch was traded to the A's as a key part of a multiple player deal that would prove in providing key ingredients for both teams eventual World Series Championships.  As a Dodger he won 115 games, lost 86, had a ERA of 3.14, recorded 23 shut outs and completed 47 games. 

Overall, he won the Cy Young Award in 1990 and was a member of two World Series Championship teams - the Dodgers in 1981 and Oakland A's in 1989.  Welch was also the pitching coach for the Champion Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001. 

Jon Weisman at Dodger Insider shares a great fan memory of welch that is worth your time to check out, here.  Below are his career stats, via Baseball Reference.

(pic above via @Dodgers on twitter)

Update:  Per a Dodger press release:
Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland A's pitching great Bob Welch died of a heart attack Monday night at his home. He was 57.

Welch, who pitched 17 years in the Major Leagues, is survived by three children-Dylan, Riley and Kelly.

"The Los Angeles Dodgers are saddened to learn of the passing of Bob Welch," said Dodger President and CEO Stan Kasten. "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 was a first-round draft choice of the Dodgers in 1977 from Eastern Michigan University and was promoted to the big league team in 1978, spending 10 seasons in Los Angeles. In 1988, he joined the Oakland A's with whom he spent his last seven years in the Majors. Overall, Welch compiled a 211-146 record with 1,969 strikeouts and a 3.47 ERA in 3,092 innings.

The right-hander was a part of three World Series champions (1981 Dodgers and 1989 A's as a player, and 2001 Arizona Diamondbacks as their pitching coach). In addition to the '81 Dodgers championship, he was a key contributor to four division-winning (1978, 1981, 1983 and 1985) and two pennant-winning Dodger teams. He was named to the All-Star team twice (1980 and 1990) and earned the American League Cy Young Award in 1990.

Welch was the last pitcher to win at least 25 games in a single season, winning a career-high 27 in 1990 for the A's.

Following his retirement in 1994, Welch turned his attention to coaching and community work. He most recently served as a spring training instructor with Oakland this season.

Funeral services are pending.

* Please follow on twitter @ernestreyes *
* Dodgers Blue Heaven home page *

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