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Bob Welch, former Cy Young winner and EMU star, dies at age 57

Bob Welch, the former Cy Young winner who was born in Detroit and starred at Eastern Michigan University, and with the Oakland A's and Los Angeles Dodgers, has died of an apparent heart attack at age 57.

Bob Welch throws out the first pitch before game 2 of the ALCS against the Tigers in Oakland
Bob Welch throws out the first pitch before game 2 of the ALCS against the Tigers in Oakland
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Bob Welch, former major league pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Oakland A's, and former Cy Young winner, has died of an apparent heart attack at the age of 57.

Welch pitched for 17 seasons in the major leagues: for the Dodgers from 1978 to 1987 and for the Oakland A's from 1988 to 1994. He won the Cy Young Award in 1990 while pitching for Oakland, and is the last major league pitcher to win 25 games in one season. He went 276 that year. The last pitcher to win more games in one season was the Tigers Denny McLain, who won 31 games in 1968.

Welch was born in Detroit and attended Eastern Michigan University (EMU). There, he led the Hurons (now the Eagles) to consecutive appearances in the College World Series, finishing as runners-up in 1976. He played just two full seasons at EMU, compiling a record of 176. During his sophomore season, he finished with a 1.82 ERA, and threw a no-hitter at Central Michigan University and a perfect game against the University of Detroit.

Welch was drafted by the Dodgers in the first round of the 1977 draft, and was quickly promoted to the majors the following season. As a rookie, he went 7 for 4 with an ERA of 2.02 in 111 innings. One of the highlights of his career came when he struck out Reggie Jackson with two on and two outs in the ninth inning of Game 2 of the 1978 World Series.

Bob Welch compiled a career record of 211146, with an ERA of 3.47 in 3,092 innings of work. He was an All-Star once in each league, and finished in the top 10 of Cy Young voting three times. He was remarkably consistent, maintaining an ERA under 4.00 in each of his first 13 seasons in the major leagues.

He was a member of Oakland teams that won three-straight American League pennants from 1988–1990, including the 1989 team that swept the San Francisco Giants in the World Series that was interrupted by an earthquake. Welch was slated to pitch Game 3 of that series, but never got the start. The delay caused his start to be pushed back to Game 5, which was never played.

After retiring as a pitcher, Welch went on to become the pitching coach for the Arizona Diamondbacks when they won the World Series in 2001. He died in Seal Beach, Calif., and is survived by sons Dylan (25) and Riley (23), daughter Kelly (18), and former wife Mary Ellen.