Former Astros manager Bill Virdon has passed away

Was winningest manager in franchise history; Led club to first postseason appearance

November 23rd, 2021

HOUSTON, TX — Former Astros manager Bill Virdon, who is the franchise leader in career wins, has passed away. He was 90 years old.

Virdon took over as Astros manager on August 20, 1975, and would remain at the helm until August of 1982. In that span, he compiled a 544-522 (.510) won-loss record, giving him the most wins as a manager in franchise history.

In 1980, Virdon led the Astros to their first postseason appearance in dramatic fashion, defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers in a one-game playoff to secure the National League West title. In the National League Championship Series that season, the Astros would fall to the Phillies in five games in what is considered one of the most exciting playoff series' in MLB history. For his efforts, Virdon was named NL Manager of the Year in 1980. Virdon would also lead the Astros to the postseason in 1981.

In addition to his time in Houston, Virdon had a long managerial career that included stops in Pittsburgh, New York (AL) and Montreal. In 1974, he was named Sporting News Manager of the Year while with the Yankees. His overall career record as a manager was 995-921. Prior to managing, Virdon enjoyed a long Major League playing career as a centerfielder that spanned from 1955-68. He spent the majority of his career with the Pirates (1956-68), where he was a member of their 1960 World Series Championship club.

Astros Statement:

"Bill Virdon was an extremely vital part of the Astros success, leading the franchise to its first two postseason appearances. He was respected throughout baseball for his intensity and knowledge of the game and enjoyed a long, successful career both as a player and manager. His impact on the Astros organization will never be forgotten. We send our heartfelt condolences to his wife, Shirley, and to his family and friends."

Statement from Enos Cabell, who played for Virdon in Houston from 1975-80:

"I loved Bill. He gave me my first chance to play every day in the Major Leagues and was always honest and truthful with me. I played for four Hall of Fame managers, and Bill was my favorite. He was one of the best baseball minds of anyone that I played for. It is very sad to hear that he has passed."