Legendary ASU Baseball Coach Bobby Winkles Dies at 90

Former Arizona State coach Bobby Winkles stands by home plate at Rosenblatt Stadium in Omaha, Neb., Sunday, June 14, 2009. Coach Winkles is in Omaha for the 40th reunion of ASU's national championship team.(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Nati Harnik/Associated Press

Legendary Arizona State baseball coach and College Baseball Hall of Famer Bobby Winkles died Friday at the age of 90, according to Jeff Metcalfe of the Arizona Republic.

Winkles became the first varsity baseball head coach at ASU in 1958 and remained in that role through 1971. Winkles went a remarkable 524-173 with the Sun Devils and led them to three national championships in 1965, 1967 and 1969.

He also went on to manage the California Angels and Oakland Athletics, and later became a player development coach and then television analyst for the Montreal Expos.

The cause of death was not immediately made available.

Winkles was a native of Arkansas who was known for his tough coaching style, but he believed the way he coached set his players up for success later in life, per Metcalfe:

“I figure I was the least guy on the team as far as winning a game was concerned. I was tough, but I didn’t care what you think about me while you’re HERE. I wanted to find out 10 years after you’re gone what you think. We did not have many guys that were not very successful in life after they finished college. They were students first and baseball players third and secondly they were gentlemen.”

In addition to winning three national titles, Winkles coached four National Player of the Year award winners in Reggie Jackson, Rick Monday, Gary Gentry and Paul Ray Powell. All of them went on to play in MLB, and Jackson was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame after hitting 563 home runs and winning five World Series championships.

Winkles wasn’t as successful as a manager in MLB as he was during his time as a head coach at ASU. He went 109-127 in parts of two seasons with the Angels and 61-86 in parts of two seasons with the A’s for a total record of 170-213.

He still enjoyed some success at the MLB level, though, winning a World Series as the Athletics’ third base coach in 1974. Jackson, who Winkles coached at Arizona State, was a key member of that team as well.

Winkles also spent time coaching with the San Francisco Giants and Chicago White Sox, and after retiring from coaching in 1988, his stint as a broadcaster with the Expos lasted from 1989 to ’93.