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Astros host dedication ceremony for Bob Watson Education Center

New, multi-million dollar facility located at Astros Youth Academy
March 5, 2020

HOUSTON, TX -- This morning, the Houston Astros and the Astros Foundation hosted a ceremony dedicating the new Bob Watson Education Center, which is located at the Astros Youth Academy in Sylvester Turner Park at 2801 Victory Drive in Houston. The new, multi-million dollar facility was named in honor of

HOUSTON, TX -- This morning, the Houston Astros and the Astros Foundation hosted a ceremony dedicating the new Bob Watson Education Center, which is located at the Astros Youth Academy in Sylvester Turner Park at 2801 Victory Drive in Houston.

The new, multi-million dollar facility was named in honor of Watson, the former Astros All-Star and Major League Baseball pioneer. Watson took part in the ceremony, and was joined by Astros Owner and Chairman Jim Crane, Special Advisor to the MLB Commissioner Joe Torre, Houston Mayor Pro Tem Dave Martin, former Astros teammate Craig Reynolds, Astros Foundation Executive Director Twila Carter, and Director of the AYA Daryl Wade. Watson’s wife Carol, daughter Kelley and son Keith also were in attendance and spoke at the event. Former Astros broadcaster Bill Brown served as the MC.

Other franchise greats in the audience included Astros Hall of Fame members Jose Cruz, Larry Dierker and Shane Reynolds. Two former Astros general managers were also in attendance in Bill Wood and Tal Smith, as well as former players Eric Anthony, Enos Cabell, Trenidad Hubbard, Deacon Jones, Chuck McElroy, Terry Puhl and Gerald Young.

The new Bob Watson Education Center (BWEC) will provide a more comprehensive approach to building great leaders in the community. The BWEC was constructed on the site of the Astros Youth Academy, which serves over 10,000 youths (ages 7-17) annually through youth baseball, softball and educational activities. Through educational tutoring, college readiness and character building programs, the BWEC will provide a climate–controlled classroom environment for year-round youth and family activities.

Watson, 73, has enjoyed a unique and remarkable career in Major League Baseball that has spanned six decades, reaching success at many different levels, including as a player, coach, general manager and MLB executive. In his 14 seasons (1966-79) with the Astros on the field, he was a two-time All-Star and one of the greatest players in franchise history, ranking in the top 10 all-time in several offensive categories. Watson, who was nicknamed The Bull, also holds the distinction of scoring MLB’s one millionth run, accomplishing this feat on May 4, 1975 vs. the Giants in San Francisco. Later in his career, Watson would make history again, becoming the first player in MLB history to hit for the cycle in both leagues. In August of 2020, he will be inducted into the Astros Hall of Fame in a ceremony at Minute Maid Park.

Off the field, Watson was a true pioneer, becoming the just the second African-American General Manager in MLB history when he assumed that role for the Astros in 1993. He later would become the first African-American GM to win a World Series while with the Yankees in 1996. Watson would later serve as MLB Vice President of Rules and On-Field Operations for several years. He also served on the Baseball Assistance Team (B.A.T.) Board of Directors for several years, playing a vital role as a member of Grant Committee. B.A.T is a non-profit organization supported by MLB and all 30 Clubs designed to confidentially help members of the baseball family in need of assistance.

More recently, Watson was a frequent visitor to the Astros Youth Academy, speaking to the young children and teens that utilize the facility.