Bob Watson, former MLB all-star and general manager, dead at 74

Sports

FILE – In this Dec. 3, 2012, file photo, Bob Watson talks about the selections made to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the pre-integration era committee, at the baseball winter meetings in Nashville, Tenn. Watson, a two-time All-Star as a player who later became the first African American general manager to win a World Series with the Yankees in 1996, has died. He was 74. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, File)

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Bob Watson, a former MLB player and general manager, has died. He was 74.

The two-time All-Star died Thursday in Houston, according to the Astros.

“This is a very sad day for the Astros and for all of baseball. Bob Watson enjoyed a unique and remarkable career in Major League Baseball that spanned six decades, reaching success at many different levels, including as a player, coach, general manager and MLB executive,” the Astros said in a statement.

He is survived by his wife, Carol; his daughter, Kelley; and his son, Keith.

Watson made his major league debut with the Astros in 1966 and played with the franchise for 14 seasons. Nicknamed “The Bull,” he made the All-Star team in 1973 and 1975.

He hit more than .300 four times and reached 100 RBI in a season twice. He also holds the distinction of scoring the MLB’s one millionth run on May 4, 1975 in a game against the San Francisco Giants.

Watson went on to play for the Boston Red Sox and the New York Yankees. He retired from the Atlanta Braves in 1984.

After his playing career, Watson became the second black general manager in MLB history when he was hired by the Astros in 1993. In 1995, he was hired by the New York Yankees and become the first black general manager to win a World Series after helping to guide the Yankees to the title in 1996. Watson played a critical role in hiring Joe Torre as Yankees manager prior to the 1996 season. Torre would go on to win four World Series for the Yankees. Watson retired from the Yankees after the 1997 season and later served as Major League Baseball’s vice president in charge of discipline and vice president of rules and on-field operations.

In March, the Astros hosted a special ceremony dedicating the new Bob Watson Education Center in Houston.

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