OAKLAND, Calif. — Matt Keough, the former Oakland Athletics pitcher and special assistant, has died. He was 64.
The Athletics announced the death Saturday night without providing details or cause of death.
“Matt was a great baseball man and a proud Oakland A,” Billy Beane, the team’s executive vice president of baseball operations, said in a statement.
“He had an incredible passion for the game and we were lucky to have him and his wealth of knowledge alongside us for the years he worked as a special assistant. He left an unforgettable impression on everyone he touched in baseball. Our sincere condolences are with the entire Keough family tonight.”
Keough was a key cog in the BillyBall era under fiery manager Billy Martin and was featured as one of the A’s “Five Aces” — along with Rick Langford, Steve McCatty, Brian Kingman and Mike Norris — on a 1981 cover of Sports Illustrated.
Keough was an American League All-Star as a rookie in 1978 and was selected AL comeback player of the year in 1980. He was 58-84 with a 4.17 ERA with Oakland (1977-83), the New York Yankees (1983), St. Louis (1985), Chicago Cubs (1986) and Houston (1986), then went 45-44 with a 3.73 ERA in Japan with Hanshin (1987-90). The right-hander returned to the States and attempted an MLB comeback with the California Angels, but in 1992 he was struck in the head by San Francisco Giants’ John Patterson’s screaming foul ball while sitting in Scottsdale (Ariz.) Stadium’s visiting dugout during a spring training game. The then-36-year-old had emergency surgery, effectively ending his baseball playing career.
He late was an advance scout for the Devil Rays from 2000-01.
The A’s drafted Keough’s son Shane in 2005, where he stayed in the lower minor leagues for four seasons before his release in 2010. His father Marty Keough is an Oakland native and former outfielder for the Boston Red Sox, Washington Senators, Cleveland Indians, Cincinnati Reds, Atlanta Braves and Chicago Cubs from 1956 to 1966. His uncle Joe Keough was an outfielder who played 34 games for the A’s in 1968 before playing four seasons with the Kansas City Royals.
Keough appeared in several episodes of The Real Housewives of Orange County with his wife, Jeana, and their children, Shane, Kara and Colton. The couple’s storyline, which played out when the Bravo series reality show debuted in 2006, revolved around their marital problems. They eventually separated and later divorced.
Kara lost her infant son three weeks prior to her father’s death. She posted a tribute on social media.
“Daddy, please take care of my son,” the post on Instagram reads. “Teach him the circle changeup and how to find forever friends. You’re on grandpa duty in heaven now. Xoxo, Hammerhead.”