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Belt Loops: Bob Welch's Greatest Feat

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The Eastern Michigan legend battled addiction.

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My first opportunity to write Belt Loops and management makes me start with the bad news.  The Mid-American conference lost a legend this week, with the passing of Eastern Michigan great Bob Welch. Teams across Major League Baseball released statements regarding Welch's death.

A's president Michael Crowley called Welch, "a significant part of our franchise's history."

Dodgers President and CEO Stan Kasten said "He was one of the greatest competitors to wear a Dodgers uniform."

The Los Angeles Angels held a moment of silence prior to Tuesday's game against Oakland.  Angels manager Mike Scioscia, "He was a special guy and we lost a really good friend."

Bob Welch was a fantastic ambassador for Eastern Michigan and the Mid-American Conference.  Perhaps his greatest accomplishment was conquering alcoholism, a journey he outlined in his 1981 book, "Five O'Clock Comes Early: A Ballplayer's Battle With Alcoholism."

"The fact is, I'm crazy when I'm drunk," Welch said in the book. "There's every chance I would have been dead by now if I was drinking."  Welch admitted that he never drank before a game, "although, given time, I would have."

Welch was a Cy Young Award winner who at Eastern Michigan, helped lead the most prosperous time in Eagles baseball history.  He led a pitching staff that guided EMU towards back to back trips to the College World Series.  Bob Welch was 57.