Bob Watson, the first black general manager in baseball to win a World Series title, with the New York Yankees in 1996, says he has turned down offers for kidney donations from his two children and is “ready for whatever happens now.”
Watson, 71, has kidney disease and undergoes dialysis several times a week. He told the New York Daily News that he has “gotten to the point where every day I’m still here is a blessing.”
“Both my kids offered to donate kidneys to me,” Watson said, “and I told them both the same thing: ‘I’ve had a good life and I don’t want to take a kidney from young people who really need them and still have their whole lives ahead of them.’ That would be very selfish on my part.”
Watson retired in 2010 after an eight-year role as a vice president of on-field operations with Major League Baseball in which he decided penalties for brawls, pitches intentionally thrown at batters and other matters. He served as general manager of the Houston Astros from 1993-95 before acting as the Yankees’ GM for two years.
“My one regret is that, because of the dialysis, I haven’t been able to travel anymore and I had to miss a lot of baseball events, like the Yankees’ 20th anniversary of the ’96 championship,” Watson said. “Ten months ago, the doctors told me I could have two years or 12. Well now I’ve gotten to the point where every day I’m still here is a blessing.”
He also was the U.S. Baseball Federation’s selection committee chairman, helping staff Olympic baseball teams.
“I had a reputation for never giving up an at-bat, so I’m still fouling ’em off as long as I can,” Watson told the Daily News.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.