- P, LF, OF, RF
- November 3, 1956
- 6' 3"
- 190 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 6-20-1978 with LAN
- Allstar Selections:
- 1990 CY, 1990 TSN
A tall right-hander with a blazing fastball, Bob Welch burst onto the big league radar during the 1978 World Series as a rookie, when he struck out Reggie Jackson in the ninth inning to dramatically save Game Two for the Dodgers. Finally able to crack the talented Los Angeles rotation in 1980, Welch posted eight solid seasons, winning as many as 14 games five times. Dealt to the Athletics in a three-team trade, Welch settled in and had his finest seasons after his 30th birthday. He won 61 games in Oakland's three pennant-winning seasons (1988-1990), and earned the Cy Young Award in 1990 when he went 27-6. Somehow, however, despite pitching in four World Series, he never won a game in the Fall Classic.
On May 16, 1994, Welch failed to get out of the first inning against the Rangers, and his ERA for the season stood at a frightening 9.53. Manager Tony Larussa demoted Welch to the pen, and gave his next start to Carlos Reyes, who was rocked hard. For the remainder of the year, the A's essentially got by with a four-man rotation when they could, but shuttled in Reyes, Miguel Jimenez and Steve Karsay when they had to use a #5 starter. Welch pitched 17 games out of the bullpen, got his ERA down a little, and as a free agent at the end of the season, he was not signed.
After a hard-luck 3-2 start (the A's scored just one run in each of his two losses), Welch strung together 10 consecutive victories. From August until the end of the season, he went 11-2 to finish at 27-6. Welch was essentially a seven-inning starter, and he only hurled two complete games. His ERA during his 10-game winning streak, which stretched over 11 starts, was a solid, but unspectacular 3.21. He received 15 of the 29 first-place votes for the Cy Young Award, edging Roger Clemens for the honor.
Bob Welch was scheduled to pitch Game Three of the World Series on October 17, 1989, when San Francisco's Candlestick Park was shook by an earthquake that devastated much of the Bay Area. When the Series resumed more than a week later, Welch was passed up and did not make a start, as Oakland won the title.
June 5, 1974: Drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the 14th round of the 1974 amateur draft, but did not sign; June 7, 1977: Drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 1st round (20th pick) of the 1977 amateur draft; December 11, 1987: Traded as part of a 3-team trade by the Los Angeles Dodgers with Matt Young to the Oakland Athletics. The Los Angeles Dodgers sent Jack Savage to the New York Mets. The Oakland Athletics sent Alfredo Griffin and Jay Howell to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Oakland Athletics sent Kevin Tapani and Wally Whitehurst to the New York Mets. The New York Mets sent Jesse Orosco to the Los Angeles Dodgers; November 5, 1990: Granted Free Agency; December 15, 1990: Signed as a Free Agent with the Oakland Athletics; October 26, 1994: Granted Free Agency.
Perserverence and the magical arm God gave him.
Welch overcame alcoholism early in his career, and penned the autobiographical Five O'Clock Comes Early: A Young Man's Battle With Alcoholism. He turned this "weakness" into a strength, as he forged a long career after he became sober.
On Opening Day of the 1993 season (April 5), Welch picked up his 200th victory in a 9-4 Oakland defeat of the Detroit Tigers. Welch went just five innings, leaving the game with a 5-2 advantage.
The outlook wasn't brilliant for the Yankees in La. The score stood 4-3, two out, one inning left to play. But when Dent slid safe at second and Blair got on at first Every screaming Dodger fan had cause to fear the worst. For there before the multitude Ah destiny! Ah fate! reggie Jackson, mighty Reggie was advancing to the plate. Reggie, whose three home runs had won the year before, Reggie, whose big bat tonight fetched every Yankee score. On the mound to face him stood the rookie, young Bob Welch, A kid with a red hot fastball Reggie's pitch and nothing else. Fifty thousand voices cheered as Welch gripped ball in mitt. One hundred thousand eyes watched Reggie rub his bat and spit. "Throw your best pitch, kid, and duck," Reggie seemed to say. The kid just glared. He must have known this wasn't Reggie's day. His first pitch was a blazer. Reggie missed it clean. Fifty-thousand throats responded with a Dodger scream. They squared off, Reggie and the kid. Each knew what he must do. And seven fastballs later, the count was three and two. No shootout on a dusty street out here in the Far West Could match the scene: A famous bat; a kid put to the test. One final pitch. The kid reared back and let a fastball fly. Fifty thousand Dodger fans gave forth one final cry. Ah, the lights still shine on Broadway, but there isn't any doubt: The Big Apple has no joy left. Mighty Reggie has struck out. Written by Jules Loh for the Associated Press, October 13, 1978.
Welch's epic confrontation with Reggie Jackson in Game Two of the 1978 World Sereis, took seven minutes and nine pitches. Welch through nothing but fastballs to "Mr. October."
- Bob Welch