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Astros History: Bob Watson And Sacrifice Flies

I am continually amazed by how much young talent the Colt .45's/Astros had in the 60's. When I'm looking for Astros History to associate with a game number I will often check the Astros leaderboards in hitting and pitching categories. Looking for a stat and player to associate with game number 53 I found Bob Watson with 53 sacrifice flies, which is fifth on the Astros all-time list.

I knew Bob Watson at one time played for the Astros and eventually became the General Manager of the club. What I didn't know was how good of a player he was. Whoever was scouting for the Astros in the early 60's did a fine good job.

He spent his 20's splitting time between the outfield and first base, before finally settling in as a full-time first basemen in his 30's.

In 14 seasons for Houston, along with 53 sacrafice flies, Watson hit .297/.364/.444 for a 130 OPS+. He collected 1448 hits, 241 doubles, 30 triples and 139 homeruns. He was an offensive force for sure. He made two All-Star appearances for the Astros and finished in the MVP voting three times: 21 in 1973; 20 in 1975; and 11 in 1976.

His best offensive year with Houston was 1975 when he posted a 149 OPS+ which breaks down to a .324/.375/.495 line.

Bob Watson was traded to the Boston Red Sox on June 13,1979, for Pete Ladd, Bobby Sprowl (player to be named later) and cash. Neither Ladd or Sprowl would go on to play significant roles in Houston.

Watson would eventually end up in New York playing for the Yankees in the 1980 American League Championship Series and the 1981 World Series. He did well in the post season with a .968 OPS, but would eventually come out on the losing end. He would get the first of two World Series rings 15 years later after leaving the Houston Astros General Manager position for the New York Yankees General Manager position.