Bob Watson

Bob Watson

Robert Jose Watson (Bull)

    * Bats Right, Throws Right
    * Height 6' 2", Weight 205 lb.
    * School Los Angeles Harbor Community College
    * Debut September 9, 1966
    * Final Game September 30, 1984
    * Born April 10, 1946 in Los Angeles, CA USA

Bob Watson had a 19-year major league career where he hit .295. He would likely have hit even higher had he not played most of his career for the Houston Astros in a park friendly to pitchers, and had he not come up during a dead-ball era when league batting averages were low. He was originally a catcher, and played 10 games at the position over his career, but mainly played in the outfield and at first base in the majors. A slow line-drive hitter with middling power (he hit between 11 and 18 home runs 8 times, but topped 20 only once), he was a good hitter for average who would also draw his share of walks. His obtained nation-wide publicity in 1974, when he scored what was billed as the one millionth run in baseball history. He is also the only player to hit a cycle in both the American and National Leagues.

Watson hit as high as .324 with Houston in 1974, as high as .337 with the Boston Red Sox in a partial season in 1979, as high as .307 with the New York Yankees in 1980, and as high as .309 as a back-up with the Atlanta Braves in 1983. He had a great post-season in 1981, after an injury-plagued season during which he only hit .212 in 59 games. He went 7 for 16 (.438) in the Division Series against the Milwaukee Brewers, added three hits in the Yankees' sweep of the Athletics in the ALCS, then went 7 for 22 (.318) with 2 home runs and 7 RBI in the World Series, which the Yankees lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in six games. However, the Yankees traded him away to the Atlanta Braves three weeks into the 1982 season, after some free agent signings over the winter had made him redundant. In Atlanta, he was used primarily as a pinch-hitter and as a back-up to Chris Chambliss, the man he had replaced as the Yankees' regular first baseman in 1980.

A two-time All Star, he was also twice in the top five in the league in RBI.

After his playing career ended, Watson was an Oakland Athletics coach for three years. He was the assistant GM of the Houston Astros from 1989 to 1993, and became the second African-American general manager in baseball history when he was named to that post with the Astros in 1994. He later held the same position with the New York Yankees in 1996-1997.

He later served as vice president of Major League Baseball, with responsibility for on-field discipline, until his retirement at the end of 2010.

According to the similarity scores method, one of the two most similar players to Bob Watson is Hall of Fame first baseman George Kelly. However, Bob played in a dead-ball era while Kelly played in a lively-ball era, which explains why Bob's OPS+ score is much higher than George's. Kelly is also noted as one of the weaker Hall-of-Fame inductees. The most similar comp for Watson is Jeff Conine, who has an even lower OPS+ than Kelly.

His first baseball card appearance was in the 1969 Topps set.


 Notable Achievements

    * 2-time NL All-Star (1973 & 1975)
    * 20-Home Run Seasons: 1 (1977)
    * 100 RBI Seasons: 2 (1976 & 1977)

By BR Bullpen

Atlanta Braves, Baseball Executive, Boston Red Sox, General manager, Houston Astros, Milwaukee Brewers, New York Yankees, Oakland Athletics, Vice President of Major League Baseball


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