Friday, September 13, 2019

Bob Watson (#562)

This is Bob Watson’s rookie card. It’s his only card that includes “catcher” as a position. (The back tells us he is transitioning from a catcher to an outfielder.)

Watson was signed by the Astros in 1965, and played 2 seasons (1965-66) in class-A ball as a catcher/outfielder. In 1967 and 1968, he played first base and outfield for the Astros’ AA and AAA teams. It’s surprising to see now that his card describes him as a C-OF, since he did no catching in either 1967 or 1968. 

Watson played 1 game with the Astros in 1966 and 6 games in 1967, but didn’t get significant playing time with the Astros until playing 45 games from mid-May to the end of July 1968, mostly as the starting left fielder.

Then it was back to AA and AAA ball for the rest of 1968 and most of 1969, where he was primarily a catcher. He did get into a few games in April 1969, and again during a September call-up.

Bob made the team at the outset of the 1970 season, but didn’t get regular playing time until mid-June, when he took the regular 1st base job away from Joe Pepitone. Watson started about 2/3 of the remaining games at 1st base, with rookie John Mayberry starting the rest.

Watson was a regular for all of 1971, except for missing a few weeks in July. He started half the games in left field, and a few dozen more at 1st base.

With the acquisition of Lee May from the Reds, Watson was strictly the left fielder from 1972-74. After May's departure, Bob moved back to 1st base permanently beginning in 1975.

During his time with the Astros, Bob made two All-Star teams ('73, '75) and hit a career-high 22 home runs in 1977.

Watson's last start for the Astros was on May 25, 1979. A few weeks later he was traded to the Red Sox for 2 minor-league pitchers. He played the remainder of that season with Boston, and after being granted free agency at season's end, signed with the Yankees.

Bob played 2 seasons (1980-81) as the Yankees' 1st baseman, including a combined 17 games in the post-season. In April 1982 he was traded to the Braves for a minor-leaguer, and played his final 3 seasons as a backup 1st baseman for Atlanta.

After retiring, he was a hitting coach, and then the GM for the Astros and Yankees from 1993-97. He then worked in the commissioner’s office until 2010.

1 comment:

Marty McKee said...

He also scored the 1,000,000th run in MLB history (Though I think some SABR guys have since debunked that) and was in The Bad News Bears in Breaking Training.