Bob Watson, who was part of two All-Star teams and later led the New York Yankees to a World Series title as general manager (GM), died on Thursday, his former side Houston Astros said. He was 74.
His son Keith said on Twitter that Watson had died after a long battle with kidney disease.
Houston, where Watson played for 14 years and was GM for two, said on Twitter that it was “a very sad day for the Astros and for all of baseball”.
“Bob Watson enjoyed a unique and remarkable career in Major League Baseball (MLB) that spanned six decades, reaching success at many different levels, including as a player, coach, general manager and MLB executive.
“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. Bob will be missed, but not forgotten.”
Nicknamed ‘The Bull’, Watson made his Major League debut with the Astros in 1966. He was selected to the All-Star team as a left fielder in 1973 and as a first baseman in 1975.
His other teams included the Boston Red Sox (1979), the Yankees (1980-82) and the Atlanta Braves (1982-84).
After a spell as hitting coach of the Oakland Athletics and a stint as Astros GM, Watson became the first African American GM to win a World Series, achieving the feat in 1996 with the Yankees.
By Shrivathsa Sridhar