Arizona State baseball legend Sal Bando dies at 78

Jan 21, 2023, 6:44 PM
(Twitter screenshot/@ASU_Baseball)
(Twitter screenshot/@ASU_Baseball)

Arizona State Sun Devils baseball legend Sal Bando, a three-time World Series champion with the Oakland Athletics and former Milwaukee Brewers executive, has died at the age of 78.

Bando helped lead ASU to both of its first two College World Series berths in Omaha in 1964 and 1965, and scored the game-winning run to beat Ohio State in the 1965 National Championship game in Omaha after reaching base on a triple.

He was named the Most Outstanding Player at the 1965 College World Series after the Sun Devils finished with a then-record 54 wins in a single season.

Bando was inducted into the ASU Hall of Fame in 1975, had his number retired by Sun Devil baseball in 1996 and was inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame in 2013. The two-time All-WAC player was also named to the College World Series Legends Team in 2010.

He finished his Arizona State career with a .319 batting average, including hitting .364 in 1964 to go along with 130 hits, 99 runs scored and 92 RBIs in his two years in Tempe.

According to a statement from his family, Bando died Friday night in Oconomowoc, Wisconsin. 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 won three straight titles with the A’s from 1972-74.

He 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.

“Sal impacted the organization proudly for many years as both a player and as an executive. His addition to the team in 1977 helped establish the first great era of Brewers baseball,” said Rick Schlesinger, the president of business operations for Milwaukee. “Our heartfelt condolences go out to Sal’s loved ones.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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