Oklahoma

Former A’s manager Bobby Winkles dies at 90


Bobby Winkles, the former A’s manager and Giants coach who made his most lasting contribution to baseball by building Arizona State into a national powerhouse, died Friday at age 90.

The death was first reported by the Arizona Republic, which did not say where he died or the cause of death.

Winkles’ short managerial tenure with the A’s was notable in how it ended: With Oakland leading the American League West at 24-15 on May 21, 1978, Winkles abruptly quit, tired of A’s owner Charles O. Finley’s second-guessing.

Winkles first joined the A’s midway through the 1974 season, shortly after being fired as manager of the California Angels, as Oakland manager Alvin Dark’s third-base coach. The A’s would win their third straight World Series title later that season.

After Dark was fired following the 1975 season, Winkles coached with the Giants under first Bill Rigney, then Joe Altobelli before Finley brought Winkles back to replace the fired Jack McKeon as A’s manager on June 26, 1977.

Over parts of two seasons, Winkles went 61-86 with Oakland. In a season and half with the Angels, Winkles was 109-127.

Born March 11, 1930, Winkles grew up on a farm near Tuckerman, Ark., and went Illinois Wesleyan University, before beginning his pro career in the minor leagues.

Manager Joe Altobelli sits between coaches Bobby Winkles and Herm Starrette at the 1977 San Francisco Giants opening day, at Candlestick Park, April15, 1977 Photo ran April 16, 1977, p. 41

Manager Joe Altobelli sits between coaches Bobby Winkles and Herm Starrette at the 1977 San Francisco Giants opening day, at Candlestick Park, April15, 1977 Photo ran April 16, 1977, p. 41

Photo: Dave Randolph / The Chronicle

Photo: Dave Randolph / The Chronicle

Manager Joe Altobelli sits between coaches Bobby Winkles and Herm Starrette at the 1977 San Francisco Giants opening day, at Candlestick Park, April15, 1977 Photo ran April 16, 1977, p. 41

Manager Joe Altobelli sits between coaches Bobby Winkles and Herm Starrette at the 1977 San Francisco Giants opening day, at Candlestick Park, April15, 1977 Photo ran April 16, 1977, p. 41

Photo: Dave Randolph / The Chronicle

Former A’s manager Bobby Winkles dies at 90

Winkles, an infielder who played seven seasons in the Chicago White Sox organization, never played in the majors. At age 28, he was hired to become Arizona State’s first head coach. During his tenure (1959-1971), Winkles guided the Sun Devils to three national titles and was named NCAA coach of the year twice.

Among his Sun Devils recruits were future A’s Reggie Jackson, Rick Monday and Sal Bando.

After a coaching stint with the White Sox (1978-81), Winkles spent the last 11 years of his career with the Montreal Expos, for whom he was an executive, coach and broadcaster.

He was inducted as a charter member of the College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.

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