Sal Bando, the captain of the Athletics’ dynasty that won back-to-back-to-back World Series championships in the 1970s, died on Friday night.
Athletics dynasty captain Sal Bando died at 78.
Sal Bando, a three-time World Series champion with the Oakland Athletics and former Milwaukee Brewers executive, has died. He was 78.
Bando hit .254 with 242 homers and 1,039 RBI in 16 seasons with the Athletics and Brewers. He won three consecutive titles with the A’s from 1972-74.
“It can never be overstated the role Sal had in Brewers’ history, both on and off the field,” said former Brewers owner and baseball commissioner Allan H. “Bud” Selig. “I cannot emphasize that enough.
When he joined us as a player, that was a big day in our history. He helped us turn the corner and was everything we hoped for, and played an important role in helping develop our younger players such as Robin Yount and Paul Molitor, into stars. He was truly our captain.
According to a statement from his family, Bando died Friday night in Oconomowoc. The family said the former third baseman lost a battle with cancer that began over five years ago.
“Sandy, Sal’s wife of 54 years, and sons Sal Jr., Sonny and Stef, send their love to family, friends and fans who mourn the loss of a humble and faithful man,” the family said in the statement.
Bando hit .254 with 242 homers and 1,039 RBIs in 16 seasons with the Athletics and Brewers. The four-time All-Star, who also starred for Arizona State in college, won three straight titles with the A’s from 1972-74.
Bando spent his last five seasons with Milwaukee, playing on the franchise’s first winning team in 1978 and its first postseason team in 1981.
The Cleveland native joined the Brewers’ front office after his playing career. He served as the team’s sixth general manager from October 1991 to August 1999.
The Brewers selected the third baseman Bando in the now-defunct free-agency “draft” of 1976, putting them among a small group of teams with negotiating rights. Getting him to agree to a deal marked a new era for the club.
“It has long-term importance, because it proves we can sign free agents, and that will be important in future years,” Selig said at the time.
The Brewers thought they had a chance to sign Bando’s roommate in Oakland, catcher/first baseman Gene Tenace, but he ultimately chose San Diego. Still, the Brewers improved marginally in 1977 and then went on a run of six consecutive winning seasons, starting with a 93-win team in 1978 that was the first winning club in Brewers history.
Bando played in Milwaukee from 1977-81, posting his best year in the uniform with that 1978 team when he batted .285 with 17 homers. He also played 32 games for the 1981 team that became the first playoff qualifier in club history, serving in a player-coach role for his final two years.
Selig had bragged that when the Brewers signed the third baseman, he’d gotten strong recommendation from people with the A’s.
“You don’t understand,” Selig said then. “The heart and soul of the Oakland A’s is not Catfish Hunter, and it is not Reggie Jackson, and it is not Rollie Fingers. It’s Sal Bando.”
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