LOS ANGELES -- Former Dodgers pitcher Bob Welch died of a heart attack at age 57 at his home in Seal Beach on Monday, it was announced on Tuesday.
Welch was drafted by the Dodgers in the first round of the 1977 draft with the 20th pick, out of Eastern Michigan. He made his big league debut a year later and the 22-year-old found himself on the mound to close out Game 2 of the 1978 World Series, striking out Reggie Jackson in a memorable nine-pitch battle to end the game.
"The Los Angeles Dodgers are saddened to learn of the passing of Bob Welch," Dodgers president and CEO Stan Kasten said in a statement. "He was one of the greatest competitors to wear the Dodger uniform. Dodger fans will always remember his confrontation with Yankee great Reggie Jackson in Game 2 of the 1978 World Series, when the 21-year-old rookie struck out Jackson to end the game. "
Welch pitched for the Dodgers for 10 seasons and was a mainstay in the starting rotation for eight of those years. The right-hander was 115-86 with a 3.14 ERA (a 114 ERA+) as a Dodger. He pitched three one-hitters while with the Dodgers and made the 1980 All-Star team.
Welch also got a one-pitch, one-out save in the clinching Game 5 of the 1981 NLCS in Montreal, getting Jerry White to ground out to second base to send the Dodgers to their third World Series in five seasons.
The Dodgers traded Welch to the A's in December 1987 as part of a three-team deal with the Mets that saw the Dodgers receive shortstop Alfredo Griffin, closer Jay Howell and reliever Jesse Orosco.
Welch pitched seven seasons in Oakland and won the American League Cy Young Award in 1990 while going 27-6 with a 2.95 ERA, the last time a major league pitcher won at least 25 games in a season.
Among Los Angeles Dodgers, Welch ranks in the top 10 in wins (115, eighth), starts (267, seventh), strikeouts (1,292, seventh), complete games (47, 10th), innings (1820⅔, eighth) and shutouts (23, seventh).
Welch is survived by three children — Dylan, Riley and Kelly.
RIP to the greatest dad to walk the earth. You were my hero and I love you so much. I'll always be your little girl. ❤️— kelly welch (@kwelchhh) June 10, 2014