Former Phillies pitcher David West has died at age 57, the team confirmed on Saturday.
West, a member of the 1993 National League championship team, had been battling brain cancer. He spent four seasons with the Phillies, making 122 appearances from 1993-96. Used primarily out of the bullpen, West compiled a 15-18 record and a 3.50 earned run average with the Phillies.
“It’s sad,” said Phillies manager Joe Girardi. “Obviously I remember competing against him when he was on those important teams in the early 1990s for the Phillies. It’s really sad. You see too many people go too young. It’s hard.”
The left-hander had the best season of his career in that 1993 campaign, appearing in 76 games as a reliever (the second most in the National League) and posting a career-best 2.92 ERA with three saves. He made three appearances during the 1993 World Series against the Toronto Blue Jays.
“I’m not kidding when I tell you that Westy was literally this gentle giant who seemed to always have a smile on his face,” said Kevin Stocker through a team press release. “I had so much respect for David and how he went about his business on the mound. We don’t win in ‘93 without his left arm out of the bullpen. However, the one thing that I will always remember is that even though I was a rookie in 1993, David never treated me as one. Even though I was only 23 years old, I felt like he always respected how I played and who I was as a person. He even made an impression on my wife, Brooke, in that he would always say hello to her after games and ask how she was getting along with the craziness of baseball life. David will be missed.”
“Another brother gone way too soon,” said John Kruk, through a team press release. “My prayers go out to the family of David West. David was a great teammate and a funny human being. We don’t reach the World Series without him. RIP my brother.”
Originally from Memphis, Tenn., West was a fourth-round pick of the New York Mets in the 1983 draft. He pitched two seasons for the Mets and four seasons with Minnesota, where the Twins won the 1991 World Series. He was then traded to the Phillies on Dec. 5, 1992. He finished his career with the Boston Red Sox, compiling a 31-38 record and a 4.66 ERA in 202 games over his 10-year MLB career. He also spent the 1997 season in Japan with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks.
West is the sixth former Phillie to die of brain cancer since 2003 following Ken Brett (2003), Tug McGraw (2004), Johnny Oates (2004), John Vukovich (2007), and Darren Daulton (2017).
Girardi said that the team has not considered an internal brace or Tommy John surgery for right fielder Bryce Harper, who has a small tear of his UCL. Girardi said that the Phillies plan on seeing how Harper responds to the PRP injection he is scheduled to receive on Sunday before making any decisions on whether surgery is necessary. Rhys Hoskins underwent an internal brace repair in October 2020 to repair a ligament tear in his left elbow. The procedure came with a shorter recovery time than Tommy John surgery -- about five months -- and worked well for Hoskins, but Girardi said that Hoskins’ tear was further along than Harper’s. The team is hoping that the PRP injection is sufficient to repair Harper’s small tear.