May 14, 2020 - 10:26 pm
Updated May 14, 2020 - 10:31 pm
HOUSTON — Bob Watson, a two-time All-Star as a player who later became the first black general manager to win a World Series with the New York Yankees in 1996, has died. He was 74.
The Houston Astros, for whom Watson played his first 14 major league seasons, announced the death Thursday night. The team didn’t provide details.
Watson, who was nicknamed “The Bull,” made the All-Star team in 1973 and ’75, hit over .300 four times and drove in at least 100 runs twice while hitting in the middle of the Astros’ lineup. He also holds the distinction of scoring the 1 millionth run in major league history, accomplishing the feat on May 4, 1975, against the San Francisco Giants at Candlestick Park.
He also played for Boston (1979), the Yankees (1980—82) and Atlanta Braves (1982—84), finishing with a .295 career batting average with 184 home runs, 989 RBIs and 1,826 runs scored while primarily playing first base and left field. Watson also hit .371 in 17 career postseason games.
After retiring from playing, Watson began coaching and helped the 1988 Oakland Athletics win the American League pennant as the hitting coach for the likes of Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire.
He became the second black general manager in major league history when he was hired by the Astros in 1993. Watson was hired by the Yankees in 1995, and helped put together the World Series-winning squad in 1996. He 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.