Bob Welch Passes Away at 57

On Tuesday, June 10, 2014 the Oakland Athletics announced that 1990 Cy Young Award Winner, 2-time All-Star and 3-time World Series Champ Bob Welch has passed away. The cause of death was unavailable at the time. He was 57.

Bob Welch was the last player in the MLB to win more than 25 games. In 1990 Bob went 27-5 with a 2.95 ERA and 1.22 WHIP in 238 innings. In this day and age of baseball, 25 plus wins is an achievement that may never happen again.

Over 17 major league seasons with the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Oakland Athletics, Welch amassed a record of 211-146 and posted a 3.47 ERA. He also pitched 28 shutouts to complement his 61 complete games. He was a vital part of Oakland’s run of three World Series Appearances from 1988-90. Bob won World Series rings as a player with Oakland in 1989 and Los Angeles in 1981. He also won a ring as the pitching coach of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001.

During the past few seasons Bob had been working with the Oakland Athletics as a special assistant. He worked specifically with the minor league camp, helping to teach them about the game.

Bob Welch is survived by his sons Dylan (25), Riley (23), daughter Kelly (18) and former wife Mary Ellen.

The Elephant Farm mourns the loss of this pitching legend and sends their condolences to the Welch family.

UPDATE: It was reported late Tuesday night that Bob Welch passed away from a heart attack at his home in Seal Beach, CA.

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TTM Success 02/24/2014: Bert Campaneris

On Monday, February 24th, I received my best TTM success to date.  I received a signed card from Bert Campaneris. Bert was a 6x All-Star in 1968, 1972, 1973, 1974 and 1975 with the Oakland Athletics, and in 1977 with the Texas Rangers. He was also a 3x World Series Champion with the Oakland Athletics from 1972-74. Bert was a career .259 batter with 2,249 hits and 649 stolen bases.

Back in 2012 I tried to get his autograph when he participated in the Legends of Baseball Vintage Showdown. This event took place in Stockton on the Fourth of July, but I was unsuccessful that day. I did, however, score a few other autographs that day.

Bert Campaneris is one of my All-Time favorite players and he signed a 1987 Mother’s Cookie Oakland Athletics All-Star card for me.

TTM Autograph of Bert Campaneris

TTM Autograph of Bert Campaneris

LaRussa on HOF’s Expansion Era Ballot

Three of the greatest managers of the past generation headline the Hall of Fame’s Expansion Era Ballot.  Long-time Atlanta Braves skipper Bobby Cox, New York Yankees manager Joe Torre and Oakland Athletics manager Tony LaRussa appear on the ballot for the first time.

Tony began his managerial tenure with the Chicago White Sox, who he led from 1979 until halfway through 1986.  His record with the White Sox was 522-510 (.506).  He led the them to a first place finish in 1983. After leaving the White Sox LaRussa took the job with the Oakland Athletics.  This was the team where his career would blossom.  He would be with the Athletics from 1986 until 1995.  Tony’s record during his tenure was 798-673 (.542).  He led the Athletics to 4 1st place finishes (1988-90, 92), 3 American League Pennant (1988-90) and 1 World Series victory in 1989.

After leaving Oakland, Tony took the helm of the St. Louis Cardinals where Tony would finish out his managerial career.  Tony was with the Cardinals from 1996 until 2011.  His record was 1408-1182 (.544).  He would lead the Cardinals to 7 first place finishes (1996, 2000, 02, 04-06 & 09), 3 National League Pennants (2004, 06, 11) and 2 World Series victories (2006 & 11).

Tony was nothing, if not consistent in his managerial record. He was a plus .500 manager with all 3 clubs he has led.  His career record is 2728-2365 (.536) in 33 years.  He led his teams to 12 1st place finished, won 6 League pennants and 3 World Series titles.  Tony is third on the all-time list for victories and is the best manager of his generation.

Throwback Thursday: Unocal 76 Athletics Pin Sets

For Throwback Thursday I wanted to display my collection of Oakland Athletics pins from the late-1980’s and early-1990s.  The first photo is the set that was distributed in 1988 by Unocal 76.  This set featured 4 pins.  The first about the history of the Elephant Mascot which the Oakland Athletics re-adopted at the beginning of the 1988 season.  The second pins celebrates the opening day of the Oakland Coliseum, April 17, 1968.  The third pin displays the 3 World Series Championships from 1972, 1973 and 1974.  The fourth and final pin depicts the 1987 All-Star Game held at the Oakland Coliseum.

Pins from the 1988 Unocal 76 A's set

Pins from the 1988 Unocal 76 A’s set

The next photo features the pin set put out by Unocal 76 in 1989.   Continue reading