The passing of Bob Welch will be felt throughout the Oakland A's organization. The former AL Cy Young award winner died suddenly in Seal Bach, California on Monday night. Welch had a significant impact on the A's minor league pitching program, serving as a special instructor for the team for the past several years. His death will be mourned by all of those who worked with him.
"This is a sad day for the entire A's organization," said Billy Beane, the A's vice president and general manager in a release issued by the team. "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 27 games for the A's in 1990 and is the last pitcher to win at least 25 games in a single season in the major leagues. He was an integral part of the A's 1989 World Championship team. Welch pitched for the A's from 1988-1994. He also pitched from 1978-1987 with the Los Angeles Dodgers and he finished his career with 211 wins. He later served as the pitching coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks and helped that team win a World Series in 2001.
Welch's impact on the A's extends well beyond his years on the mound, however. Welch was a frequent presence at the A's minor league complex at Papago Park in recent years, and his leadership both about pitching and about life inspired A's minor leaguers, many of whom took to Twitter to express their grief and appreciation for the time they spent working with Welch.
Last month, Kimberly Contreras wrote about Welch and his impact on the A's farm system: http://athletics.scout.com/story/1402504-welch-molding-the-a-s-next-generation?s=304.
Everyone here at OaklandClubhouse.com expresses our sincere condolences to Welch's family and friends.