The Obit For Al Widmar

Former Jays coach Widmar dead

By BOB ELLIOTT -- Toronto Sun


HOUSTON -- The extended Blue Jays family has taken another serious blow.

Former pitching coach Al Widmar, 80, passed away Saturday in Tulsa, a day after the funeral of broadcasting legend Tom Cheek.

Widmar was the Jays pitching coach from 1980 to 1989 and helped in the development of Dave Stieb, Jim Clancy, Jimmy Key and David Wells under managers Bobby Cox, Jimy Williams and Cito Gaston.

The former St. Louis Brown always had the most blarney and quickest wit in the clubhouse. He would arrive at dinner during spring training and preface his order with: "Since it's my birthday I'll have ... " and more nights than not he would wind up with a free dessert.

Widmar walked with a distinct limp. Once, at Memorial Stadium in Baltimore, he visited the mound and the Orioles broadcast crew timed his walk to the dugout from the mound at 29 seconds. "I didn't think those TV guys could count that high," Widmar said.


After working as a special assignment scout for the Jays in 1990-1991, Widmar was promoted to the position of special assistant to the general manager, a position he held for nine seasons under Pat Gillick and Gord Ash.

In 1995, he was the pitching coach at single-A St. Catharines.

In one game that season, a St. Catharines lead was close to evaporating as the opposing hitters quickly went double, homer, double, homer, triple. Widmar made a rare walk to the mound, limping slowly. When he got there, a young buck umpire ejected him for stalling.

"I was in the majors before you were in diapers," was one of the few printable things Widmar told the ump. The reliever was ready by the time Widmar was finished.

Widmar was 13-30 with a 5.21 ERA during his five seasons in the majors for the Boston Red Sox, the Chicago White Sox and the Browns.

A funeral service for Widmar will be conducted on Thursday in Tulsa.