Matt Keough, one of A’s “five aces”, dies at 64

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Matt Keough, one of A’s “Five Aces” in the early 1980s and later an important resource at A’s front office, died in Southern California on Friday. He was 64 years old.

The cause of death has not been determined, sources say.

“Matt was a great baseball man and a proud Oakland A,” said Vice President of Baseball Operations Billy Beane in a statement. “He had an incredible passion for the game and we were fortunate to have him with his wealth of knowledge by our side during the years he worked as a special assistant. He left an unforgettable impression on everyone he touched in baseball. Our sincere condolences go out to the whole Keough family this evening. “

Keough, the son of former major league outfielder Marty Keough and outfielder Joe Keough’s nephew, lived in southern California after retiring from baseball. He spent 15 years working as an A scout and advisor after his playing days.

“Matt was a great baseball man who has always been great with him,” said Gene Watson, senior director of professional screening for the Royals, a close friend of Keough’s. “He had an incredible spirit for the game and an incredible work ethic. When watching a game with him, it was impossible not to learn something new from him every time. “

Keough was an All-Star in 1978 and on the cover of Sports Illustrated in 1981 with the rest of A’s starting team, Rick Langford, Mike Norris, Steve McCatty and Brian Kingman. He went 10-6 with an ERA of 3.40 that year for a team that went into the playoffs, and in a nine-year career with the A, Yankees, Cardinals, Cubs and the Astros, he went 58-84 with a 4.17 ERA – and pitched 53 full games, including 20 in 1980 alone.

“A brilliant baseball spirit, and Matt has achieved things in baseball in terms of innings pitched and full games that no pitcher will succeed again,” said former Cubs director Ed Lynch. “My heart goes to Marty and the rest of Matt’s family. “

An attempt to return to the Angels in the spring of 1992 ended when Keough was struck in the head by a net strike at Scottsdale Stadium and almost killed. He joined the Oakland front office in 1990 and helped write some of A’s best talent in the 2000s, including Huston Street, Joe Blanton and Nick Swisher. He then worked for the Angels and Rays and worked for the Hanshin Tigers in Japan in 1987-90.

Keough has had legal problems in the past 15 years, including a three-month stay in jail after a drunk driving incident in which he injured a pedestrian.

He is survived by his children Shane, a former miner at A; Kara; and Colton. The Keoughs appeared in the first season of “The Real Housewives of Orange County” with Keough’s ex-wife Jeana.

Susan Slusser is an editor for the San Francisco Chronicle. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @susanslusser



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