HOUSTON – Houston Astros legend Bob Watson died at the age of 74, Major League Baseball announced in a press release late Thursday.
“He was an All-Star on the field and a true pioneer off of it, admired and respected by everyone he played with or worked alongside," the Astros wrote in a statement. “Bob will be missed, but not forgotten.”
His son Keith Watson said beyond his father’s accomplishments, he was a good, solid man.
“I can’t think of a better role model that I could’ve had as a man and as a father,” Keith said. “He consistently showed and shared and gave of himself, of his time and of his resources.”
His family wanted everyone to know Bob Watson was always Houston proud.
“I know that he would want people to know how proud he was to be affiliated with the city, affiliated with the Astros and that he could’ve been anywhere in the world and raised our family anywhere, but he did it here,” Keith said.
Watson joined the Astros at the age of 19 in 1965 and made his MLB debut in 1966. He spent 14 seasons with the Astros, batting .297 with 241 doubles, 139 home runs, 782 RBI and an .808 OPS in 1,381 games. He scored MLB’s one millionth run on May 4, 1975, and became the first player in MLB history to hit for the cycle in both the National League and the American League.
However, he was also known for his contributions beyond just playing. Watson became the second African-American General Manager in Major League history when he was named GM of the Astros in 1994.
In 1996, Watson became the first African-American GM to win a World Series when he did so as GM of the New York Yankees.
Earlier this year, the Astros announced Watson would be among the honorees of their Hall of Fame class of 2020. He was supposed to be inducted in August.
In March, Watson’s legacy was honored with the dedication of the Bob Watson Education Center at the Astros Youth Academy in March.
Watson is survived by his wife, Carole, daughter, Kelly and son, Keith. His funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.
Watch: Bob Watson honored with the dedication of the Bob Watson Education Center