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MLB veteran Bob Watson retiring

MLB veteran Bob Watson retiring
Bob Watson, Vice President of On-Field Operations for Major League Baseball, announces to reporters the cancellation of Game 5 of the National League Championship between the New York Mets and the St. Louis Cardinals due to the weather on October 16, 2006. (UPI Photo/Bill Greenblatt) | License Photo

NEW YORK, Nov. 16 (UPI) -- Major League Baseball all star-turned-coach and executive Bob Watson said Tuesday in New York he's retiring after 45 years in the game.

Commissioner Bud Selig thanked Watson for his "years of leadership and dedication to our game."

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"Bob has had a remarkable career, both on and off the field," Selig said. "He has been a valued member of the baseball community for parts of six decades, and he has represented his clubs, his country and the game of baseball with class."

Watson, who will retire at the end of the year but still help out on MLB's Urban Youth Academy program, has served as vice president of rules and on-field operations since 2002.

Watson played first base and left field for 19 years in the big leagues with Houston, the New York Yankees, Boston and Atlanta, earning all-star honors twice. For his career, he hit .295 with 194 home runs and 989 RBI.

He later coached for Oakland and became general manager in Houston and for the Yankees, who he helped to a World Series win.

In a game known for statistics and trivia, Watson can be plugged into at least three spots: he scored the 1 millionth run in baseball history, was the first player to hit for the cycle in both leagues and was the first African-American big league general manager.

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