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MLB's Watson to be Inducted into the John McLendon Minority Athletics Administrators Hall of Fame

May 27, 2009

CLEVELAND – Major League Baseball (MLB) Vice President of On-Field Operations Bob Watson will be inducted into the John McLendon Minority Athletics Administrators Hall of Fame on June 19, 2009, the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) announced today. The induction ceremony will be held in conjunction with the 44th Annual NACDA Convention at the Orlando World Center Marriott Resort. In his position at MLB since February 2002, Watson oversees player discipline, pace of game, uniform policy, stadium configuration and other on-field matters.

“I would like to thank the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics for inducting me into the McLendon Hall of Fame alongside these incredible leaders in the sports world,” said Watson. “I am deeply honored and proud to represent Major League Baseball and to forever be a part of such an important organization.”

As a player, Watson was a two-time All-Star (1973 and 1975) in 19 Major League seasons with the Houston Astros (1966-79), the Boston Red Sox (1979), the New York Yankees (1980-82) and the Atlanta Braves (1982-84). He was a career .295 hitter with 184 home runs and 989 RBI. Playing for the Yankees in the 1981 World Series, Watson batted .318 (7-22) with a pair of home runs and seven RBI in the six-game Fall Classic. On May 4, 1975, Watson scored the 1,000,000th run in MLB history.

After retiring in 1984, Watson worked for the Oakland Athletics as a roving hitting instructor (1985), hitting coach (1986-87) and bench coach (1988) before returning to the Astros as assistant general manager in November 1988. In 1993, the Astros named Watson general manager, the first African-American to hold the position in Major League history. Following the 1995 season, he was named the general manager of the New York Yankees, and in 1996, his first full season, Watson became the first African-American general manager of a World Series Championship club. He served as general manager of the Yankees until February 1998. Watson has been involved with USA Baseball since 1999, and his experience includes serving as Co-Chairman of the Steering Committee that selected the American players for the 2000 USA Baseball Olympic Gold Medal Team and as general manager of professional baseball operations between 2005 and 2008.


 

 

In 2007, Bill White, the first African-American MLB National League President, was the MLB representative into the first McLendon Hall of Fame class.

This year’s induction reception will also honor Alvin Attles, Golden State Warriors Ambassador and Legend; Anita DeFrantz, the first African-American and first American woman to serve on the International Olympic Committee (IOC); Dr. Bernard Franklin, NCAA Executive Vice President on NCAA Membership and Student-Athlete Affairs and Past President of three HBCU's; Willie O’Ree, the NHL’s Director of Youth Development for Diversity Programming and the first black player in the League; Gale Sayers, the first black Division I athletics director at Southern Illinois University; and Gene Washington, the NFL’s Director of Football Operations and first black quarterback at Stanford. NACDA Past President and former Georgia Athletics Director Vince Dooley will be the recipient of the 2nd Annual Bud Selig Mentoring Award.

About the John McLendon Memorial Minority Postgraduate Scholarship Program: The John McLendon Memorial Minority Postgraduate Scholarship Awards are presented to senior-level minority students who intend to pursue a graduate degree in athletics administration. If you have any questions regarding this program, please visit www.mclendonminorityfoundation.com.

About NACDA: NACDA, now in its 44th year, is the professional and educational association for more than 6,500 college athletics administrators at more than 1,600 institutions throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. More than 2,300 athletics administrators annually attend the NACDA Convention. Additionally, NACDA administers 11 professional associations that come under the umbrella of the athletics director. For more information, visit www.nacda.com.