Sad item from the world of baseball today with the news of Bob Welch's death at the age of 57. In the midst of a very nice career, Welch had one of the more incredible seasons you will find from this era: 27 victories in 1990, which earned him the Cy Young Award. Since then, no pitcher has even won as many as 25 games in a season. While NEWFANGLED statistics tend to discredit the win as a relevant measure of a pitcher's accomplishment, most of us would agree that Welch's season was at least remarkable. Here are five facts about it:
*Nearly half (13) of his 27 victories came in games ultimately won by the A's by one or two runs. If the bullpen falters just a handful of times, we probably remember the season and his career differently.
*He won 20 of his games after June 4. Think about that. June 4 this year was less than a week ago. Imagine a pitcher just starting the season last week and winning 20 games.
*He only started 35 games, meaning with a final record of 27-6 he earned decisions in 33 of 35 starts.
*Those peripheral numbers weren't all that great. He walked 77 batters and struck out just 127 in 238 innings, but he churned out strong innings just the same.
*He won both his home starts that season against the Twins, but perhaps his worst outing of the year came in his only game at the Metrodome. He allowed seven earned runs in just two innings, accounting for one of his six losses. It was the second game of a doubleheader, which we imagine was a rarity at the weather-controlled Dome, on July 28. The big hits? A pair of run-scoring singles by Junior Ortiz and a two-run triple by John Moses.