It is without exaggeration that I can say that the A's have lost one of their best, as we learn the tragic news of Bob Welch's untimely death at the all-too-young age of 57. For those of you youngsters (and I'm actually one of them in this case), Welch was a member of the A's during their last championship run in 1989, won the Cy Young in 1990, and has the unique distinction of being the last Major League pitcher to win 25 games in a single season (he went 27-6 in '90).
On a personal note, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Bob on more than one occasion, and I have to say that he was just a nice guy, who also happened to be a whole lot of fun. He was as down-to-earth as it was possible to be and charmingly self-deprecating about his baseball career and his past, which has been well-chronicled in his book, Five O'Clock Comes Early. Reading the sheer volume of content written about him by the A's, it's obvious that he was well-liked. I'm sure many of you have better stories than I, so I will open this up for comments and tributes.
I'll let the A's do the talking, as they all have many things to say about their former player and special instructor, as he also worked for the A's organization after he retired from playing.
Dennis Eckersley is broken up about Bob Welch's passing. "He was such an infectious personality." #Athletics— Joe Stiglich (@JoeStiglichCSN) June 10, 2014
Dennis Eckersley on Bob Welch: "We had such a bond, both being alcoholics. I loved the guy. He touched me and I'm touched now." #Athletics— John Hickey (@JHickey3) June 10, 2014
R.I.P Bob Welch. Amazing person to be around. Great attitude, always wanted to talk baseball, plus he was a winner!— Josh Donaldson (@BringerOfRain20) June 10, 2014
Devastated to learn of Bob Welch's passing. The A's organization lost not only one of its best pitchers, but one of its best people. #RIP35— Sean Doolittle (@whatwouldDOOdo) June 10, 2014
What a sad day i just found out bob Welch just died of a heart attack..he was a great team mate and a great guy.— Jose Canseco (@JoseCanseco) June 10, 2014
"This is a sad day for the entire A’s organization," said A’s general manager Billy Beane, who played with Welch in Oakland. "Those of us who knew Bob as a teammate and a friend will miss him greatly. My condolences go out to his family."
A’s president Mike Crowley said, "We are deeply saddened by the sudden passing of Bob Welch. He was a legendary pitcher who enjoyed many of his best seasons with the Oakland A’s. He will always be a significant part of our franchise’s history, and we mourn his loss. We send our greatest sympathies to his family and friends."
So sad to hear about the passing of Bob Welch. A great man who always loved to talk baseball. It is a blessing to have known him.— AJ Griffin (@griffin_64) June 10, 2014
Devastated hearing about the passing of Bob Welch. One of the greatest men I knew. Thoughts and prayers to his family, RIP. #Welchie— Billy McKinney (@billy_mckinney) June 10, 2014
SF Gate also has a tribute article up:
"He always had kind words to say about anybody," Stewart said. "The most important thing about Bobby is he’s just a great friend to everybody, whether he knew you for years or just met him yesterday."
Thank you, Bob Welch, for all you gave to the Oakland organization and its fans. You will be greatly missed.