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Bob Welch (baseball)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bob Welch
Born: November 3, 1956
Detroit, Michigan, U.S.
Died: June 9, 2014(2014-06-09) (aged 57)
Seal Beach, California, U.S.
Batted: Right
Threw: Right
MLB debut
June 20, 1978, for the Los Angeles Dodgers
Last MLB appearance
August 11, 1994, for the Oakland Athletics
MLB statistics
Win–loss record211–146
Earned run average3.47
Career highlights and awards

Robert Lynn Welch (November 3, 1956 – June 9, 2014) was an American professional baseball starting pitcher. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) for the Los Angeles Dodgers (1978–87) and Oakland Athletics (1988–94). Prior to his professional career, he attended Eastern Michigan University, where he played college baseball for the Eastern Michigan Hurons baseball team.[1] He helped lead the Hurons, coached by Ron Oestrike, to the 1976 College World Series, losing to Arizona in the Championship Game.

Welch was a two-time MLB All-Star, and he won the American League Cy Young Award as the league's best pitcher in 1990. He was a three-time World Series champion – twice as a player and once as a coach. He is the most recent major league pitcher to win at least 25 games in a single season (27 in 1990).[1]

YouTube Encyclopedic

  • 1/5
    189 077
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  • 1978 WS Gm2: Welch sits down Reggie in epic at-bat
  • Oakland A's All Stars Episode 18 - Bob Welch (1990)
  • 1978 WS Gm6: Jackson clubs a two-run shot off Welch
  • LAD@CIN: Dodgers broadcasters discuss Welch's life
  • BAL@OAK: Athletics hang Welch's jersey in the dugout


Playing career

In a 17-year career, Welch compiled a 211–146 record with 1,969 strikeouts and a 3.47 ERA in 3,092 innings. His 137 wins during the 1980s ranked third among major league pitchers during that decade, following Jack Morris and Dave Stieb. Welch won the American League Cy Young Award in 1990 while pitching for the Oakland Athletics. He threw two complete games in 1990, both of them shutouts. Welch finished in the top 10 voting for the National League Cy Young Award twice (1983 and 1987).[2]

Los Angeles Dodgers

Welch gained national fame with the Dodgers during their 1978 season, when as a 21-year-old rookie he struck out Reggie Jackson of the New York Yankees with two men on base and two out in the top of the ninth inning of Game 2 of the 1978 World Series.

On May 29, 1980, Welch pitched a 3–0 one-hitter against the Atlanta Braves, facing the minimum 27 batters. The only Atlanta base runner was Larvell Blanks, who singled in the fourth inning and was retired on a double play.

Welch won the 1981 World Series, his first, as the Dodgers defeated the Yankees in six games.

In 1983, Welch became the sixth pitcher to throw a complete-game shutout and hit a solo home run for his team's only run. This was not accomplished again until Noah Syndergaard did so in 2019.[3]

Oakland Athletics

1990 Oakland Athletics #35 Bob Welch All-Star Game road jersey

Welch was the third starting pitcher in the rotation for the 1989 World Series champion Oakland A's, compiling a regular-season record of 17-8 and recording a win in his only start in the American League Championship Series against the Toronto Blue Jays. In an odd twist of fate, however, Welch did not throw a single pitch against the San Francisco Giants during the World Series itself. Just minutes before Welch was to take the mound in Game 3, Candlestick Park and the Bay Area were struck by the Loma Prieta earthquake, which caused extensive damage in the region and forced the postponement of the game. When the Series was resumed 11 days later, A's manager Tony La Russa opted to re-use his Game 1 starter, Dave Stewart, for Game 3 in place of Welch, and his Game 2 starter, Mike Moore, for Game 4 in place of originally scheduled starter Storm Davis. The strategy worked, as the A's swept the Series in four games, giving Welch his second World Series title.

A two-time All-Star (1980 and 1990), Welch won 14 or more games in eight years, with a career-high 27 in 1990. He received the Cy Young Award that season, and was considered in the MVP vote. His 27 wins were the most by any pitcher since Steve Carlton also won 27 in 1972, and as of 2023 stands as the last time a pitcher has won 25 or more games in a season (the closest anyone has come to that mark since is 24, accomplished by John Smoltz in 1996, Randy Johnson in 2002, and Justin Verlander in 2011). The last pitcher to win more games in a season was Denny McLain, with 31 wins in 1968.[4] Nineteen of his wins were saved by Dennis Eckersley, which remains a record.[5]

Welch was the starting pitcher of Game 2 of the 1990 World Series against the Cincinnati Reds. Welch's personal catcher throughout much of his Oakland Athletics career was Ron Hassey, as opposed to Terry Steinbach, who caught the majority of the Oakland pitching staff.

Autobiography and alcoholism

In 1991, Welch and The New York Times sports columnist George Vecsey co-wrote Five O'Clock Comes Early: A Cy Young Award-Winner Recounts His Greatest Victory, which chronicled Welch's battle with alcoholism that he said started at the age of sixteen: "I would get a buzz on and I would stop being afraid of girls. I was shy, but with a couple of beers in me, it was all right."[1]

The book "...marked one of the first times an active professional athlete openly discussed a drinking addiction."[1] An updated version was published after Welch's retirement, and the book was re-released digitally the year after Welch's death, on November 10, 2015.


Welch was the pitching coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks when they won the World Series in 2001.[1] During the 2006 World Baseball Classic, Welch served as the pitching coach for The Netherlands. Welch was a pitching coach in the Oakland Athletics organization at the time of his death.[6]

His son Riley Welch was a 34th round selection by the Oakland A's in the 2008 MLB draft out of Desert Mountain high school in Scottsdale, Arizona but did not sign and went on to play college baseball at the University of Hawaii. Riley then signed as an undrafted free agent with the Dodgers.[7] He became a pitching coach at Presentation College, an NAIA school in Aberdeen, South Dakota in 2014.[8]


Welch died of a broken neck resulting from an accidental fall in the bathroom of his Seal Beach, California, home on June 9, 2014, at the age of 57.[6] The Orange County Coroner's Office ruled that Welch suffered a cervical spine fracture "with epidural hemorrhage due to hyperextension of neck" suffered in the fall, negating earlier reports that he had died from a heart attack.[9]



  • Welch, Bob; Vecsey, George (1991). Five O'Clock Comes Early: A Cy Young Award-Winner Recounts His Greatest Victory. Fireside. ISBN 978-0671745608.

See also


  1. ^ a b c d e Schudel, Matt (June 11, 2014) "Pitcher won Cy Young Award in '90" The Washington Post, page B5. Retrieved July 6, 2014 [1]
  2. ^ "Bob Welch Stats -".
  3. ^ Armstrong, Kevin (May 2, 2019). "'One of the Rarest Things in Baseball': Noah Syndergaard Does It All". The New York Times. Retrieved August 26, 2023.
  4. ^ "Former pitcher Bob Welch dies at 57". June 10, 2014. Archived from the original on June 10, 2014.
  5. ^ "Elias Says".
  6. ^ a b Hickey, John; Almond, Elliott (September 4, 2014). "Bob Welch's death ruled accidental fall, authorities say". Mercury News. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
  7. ^ "Riley Welch minor league statistics and history". Baseball Reference.
  8. ^ "Presentation College Saints Athletics - 2014 Baseball Coaching Staff". Archived from the original on 2014-02-01. Retrieved 2014-01-29.
  9. ^ "Bob Welch's death ruled accidental fall at home". 4 September 2014.

External links

Preceded by American League All-Star Game Starting Pitcher
Succeeded by
This page was last edited on 1 February 2024, at 20:06
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