SAN DIEGO - The San Diego Padres today announced they have named Don Welke vice president of scouting operations. Executive Vice President/General Manager A.J. Preller made the announcement.
"Don brings a wealth of knowledge to our organization," said Preller. "Our entire baseball operations will be able to draw from his many years of scouting experience."
Welke joins the Padres after spending parts of the last eight seasons with the Texas Rangers, where he most recently held the role of senior special assistant to the general manager, scouting. He comes to the Padres with 49 years of baseball scouting experience, having begun his scouting career with the Cincinnati Reds in 1965. Prior to re-joining the Rangers in 2007, he held the role of special assistant to former Philadelphia General Manager Pat Gillick, a member of Baseball's Hall of Fame, with whom he had previously worked with in Toronto and Baltimore. In 2005, he worked for the Rangers' international scouting department as cross-checker and was instrumental in reestablishing the organization's presence in Latin America. At the 2012 Major League Baseball Winter Meetings in Nashville, Tenn. he was named the Midwest Scout of the Year by his peers. Welke also received a pair of honors in the 2011 offseason with the Legends in Scouting Award from the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation and the inaugural Scout of the Year Award, bearing his name, from the Rangers Organization.
Prior to working with the Rangers and Phillies, Welke also worked with the Los Angeles Dodgers (1999-2004), Baltimore Orioles (1996-99), Toronto Blue Jays (1977-95), Kansas City Royals (1970-76) and Cincinnati Reds (1965-69). Over the course of his career he has been directly involved with signing such players as Dave Stieb, Pat Hentgen, John Olerud and Padres bullpen coach Willie Blair. More recently with the Rangers, Welke was instrumental in the club's consecutive World Series appearances in 2010-11 as well as the organization's farm system, having been directly involved in the signings and acquisitions of Jurickson Profar and Elvis Andrus. He also worked as an advance scout for the gold medal-winning Team USA baseball squad at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney and again with Team USA for the 2003 Olympic qualifier in Panama.
A native of Illinois, Welke has degrees from Carthage (WI) College, where he played baseball and basketball, as well as Eastern Michigan University. He was named to the Carthage College Hall of Fame and is also in the hall of fame for his high school, Harvard (IL) High.