RIP Bob Watson

jon abbey

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He passed away today at 74 of kidney failure, he was the GM for the 1996 WS team and famously scored the millionth run in MLB history in 1975 for the Astros, although Joe Pos pointed out many years later that due to all the historical stat adjustments over the years, we have no idea who actually scored the millionth run, but it's still a good story (Watson was standing on second when the batter homered and he broke into a dead sprint to beat Dave Concepcion in a different game to the plate by a few seconds).

Anyway, RIP sir, and thanks for 1996 and also for your time platooning at 1B with Jim Spencer when I was a kid.

 

Philip Jeff Frye

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Very much enjoyed his brief sojourn withe the Bosox in 1979, when he hit .337/.401/.548 as a midseason pickup. Of course, then he treasonously signed with the Yankees as a free agent, so I didn't enjoy that as much.
 
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Average Reds

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Watson was an underrated player and, by all accounts, a decent human being. (He turned down a kidney transplant from his children two years ago because he understood that his condition was hereditary, that he had already lived a good life and they should be able to do the same.)

His decency is why I was not surprised that George Steinbrenner caused him to crack when he was Yankee GM. And while I can’t find the exact quote, one of my favorite memories of Watson was when he was asked who Steinbrenner’s “baseball people” in Tampa were, and he observed (paraphrasing) that when George says that, “he’s talking about the voices in his head.“

Watson was old school, and not always in a good way - his ridiculous edict banning managers from wearing a pullover rather than the team uniform comes to mind. But he was a good man and will he missed.

RIP.
 

loshjott

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I choose to remember Watson as an Astro, scoring that millionth run (I was 10, and it was a cool story following that chase in its final days).

I had actually forgotten about his tenure as Yankees GM.
 

lexrageorge

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He'll always be the answer to the question: "What happened to Bobby Sprowl?".

Put up a slick 0.949 OPS in half a season with Boston in the 1979 season, when the Sox were in a pennant race with Baltimore and New York before fading late in the year. Fans liked him here, and were some pissed when he went to NY as a free agent because Haywood was looking to save a few dollars. But after one good season with NY he started to decline. RIP.
 

wade boggs chicken dinner

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RIP. Those mid-70s Astros teams were fun. Buddy and I used to play SI baseball and would make up our players. We went heavily into the Astros. Watson. Cesar Cedeno. Doug Radar. Enos Cabell. Jesse Helms. JR Richard. Larry Dierker. Joe Niekro. Ken Forsch. A young Mike Stanton was on the 75 team and a less young Mike Easler.
 

Harry Hooper

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Last player I can remember wearing tinted aviators on the field. RIP.
Bob is in the Red Sox all-time eyeglass team:

 

E5 Yaz

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Bob Watson, whose death was announced Thu., told The Undefeated in 2018 that as a Hou. minor leaguer in Jim Crow Fla. in 1966 he had to sleep in a black-owned mortuary for four nights until an African-American family took him in. He said of the aftermath of the 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King: "It was crushing...to have your leader taken out cowardly like that, we were getting set way, way back. I was surprised that we, as a nation, moved on. We moved on slowly, but we still moved on."
 

tims4wins

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Bob Watson, whose death was announced Thu., told The Undefeated in 2018 that as a Hou. minor leaguer in Jim Crow Fla. in 1966 he had to sleep in a black-owned mortuary for four nights until an African-American family took him in. He said of the aftermath of the 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King: "It was crushing...to have your leader taken out cowardly like that, we were getting set way, way back. I was surprised that we, as a nation, moved on. We moved on slowly, but we still moved on."
Total non-sequitor but Willie is my mom's cousin's husband.
 

cannonball 1729

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Watson was an underrated player and, by all accounts, a decent human being. (He turned down a kidney transplant from his children two years ago because he understood that his condition was hereditary, that he had already lived a good life and they should be able to do the same.)

His decency is why I was not surprised that George Steinbrenner caused him to crack when he was Yankee GM. And while I can’t find the exact quote, one of my favorite memories of Watson was when he was asked who Steinbrenner’s “baseball people” in Tampa were, and he observed (paraphrasing) that when George says that, “he’s talking about the voices in his head.“

Watson was old school, and not always in a good way - his ridiculous edict banning managers from wearing a pullover rather than the team uniform comes to mind. But he was a good man and will he missed.

RIP.
Oh man - the millionth run is a great story all to itself. I always liked umpire Ron Luciano's story about it; apparently, he was more than just an interested observer, since every player, coach, and umpire at the game where the run happened would get a free wristwatch:

I was working third base for the White Sox and A's on the fateful day. We were in the fourth inning with nobody out and Oakland having runners on first and third. Then the announcement was made that the 999,999th run had been scored. Man on third with nobody out? I could hear that snazzy timepiece ticking on my wrist. I could feel the gold against my skin.

The batter lifted a short fly to right-field. No way it was deep enough for the runner to tag up and score. No way at all. But I saw him bend into the running position with his back foot pushed against the base. "Don't go!" I yelled pleadingly. "Don't go!" He went.

Ed Herrmann caught the throw from the outfield on a fly and stood at home plate with a sad incredulous look on his face. He had no choice but to make the play and he did. I couldn't believe the runner had taken my watch away from me.

We still had a shot, though. On the play at the plate, the runner on first had alertly tagged and gone to second. A base hit would score him with the 1,000,000th run. On the first pitch, the batter smacked a line-drive single. The runner tore around third … and stopped! He just stopped and scampered back to the third base.

I was screaming: Go! Go!" I was signaling with my hands. "Go!" I wanted to take him by the hand and drag him home.

It was probably too late anyway. As soon as that play ended, the announcer informed the crowd that Houston's Bob Watson had scored the millionth run in Major League history. So today, some national League umpire is wearing my watch.
But I also have to pull quotes from the linked Posnanski article, because it's so good:

So, you may know what happened then. The 999,999th run scored, and everyone was listening carefully to what was happening in San Francisco. Second inning in the first game of a doubleheader, and the Astros had runners on first and second. Milt May was at the plate … a clean single would score the millionth run. But May didn’t take any chances. He homered. And the man on second — Bob Watson — came all the way around to score. And he ran full speed the last few steps so that he would score the one millionth run.

Like I say, you may know that. But what you may not know is that at almost precisely the same time in CIncinnati, Dave Concepcion came up to face Phil Niekro. And Concepcion had this weird feeling that he was going to score the one millionth run. When he saw that the 999,999th run had scored, he just wanted to get to the plate. He just wanted a chance. He saw a Niekro knuckler, and he swung from the heels. And he hit it out. Home run. Concepcion sprinted around the bases — “I never ran so fast in my entire life,” he would say — and he touched home plate and everyone mobbed him and he believed, really believed, that he had scored the millionth run.

Back in New York, it was mayhem. The guy in San Francisco shouted that Bob Watson had touched home plate. Four seconds later, the guy on the phone to Cincinnati said, “Concepcion just touched home plate.” … Well, now what? Four seconds difference. But Watson had his run announced by the guy live on the scene while Concepcion had his run RELAYED from the guy on the scene to the guy on the phone to the group. Sackler would say that they actually replayed the tape a few times to make an official judgment.

And the official judgment as you know: Bob Watson scored the one-millionth run in baseball history.

“I’m glad to hear he’s a clean-living athlete,” Richard Harshman said about Watson on behalf of Tootsie Rolls. “We have to keep the image — good for kids, good for Tootsie Rolls. I know he’s not blond and blue eyed, but he’s my idea of an All-American.”

Yes, 1975 was like that too. Watson reluctantly gave his shoes to the Hall of Fame (“I had just broken them in,” he said) and he gave the money and Tootsie Rolls to charity. And in a classic line, he said that his fan-mail doubled … from four to eight. Dave Concepcion said that missing out broke his heart, but he survived. “Tell them to send me a Toosie Roll anyway,” he said. “I come so close.”
 
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jon abbey

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A guy I know in Houston is a big hip-hop DJ there and friends with Bob Watson's son and has a two hour radio show airing tomorrow night, "a two hour tribute to Bob Watson. We play some of his favorite songs and have some very interesting interviews, including with his son Keith Watson and it really goes down."

He wanted people to spread the word to anyone interested, and he says it's on "90.1 fm in Houston KPFT HOUSTON www.kpft.org and it's on the TuneIn app as well. 10pm Saturday night", which is CST presumably.
 

SemperFidelisSox

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In the ‘95 offseason, Watson hired Joe Torre, traded for Girardi, Tino Martinez, Jeff Nelson, and Tim Raines, and re-signed Cone and Boggs. All in a span of about three months.