Bill Virdon, former Astros manager who died at 90, holds the most wins with the club at 544

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Tuesday, November 23, 2021
The history of pro baseball in Houston
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HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- The Houston Astros' first taste of postseason success would never have happened without former manager Bill Virdon.

The club on Tuesday announced Virdon died at the age of 90, leaving behind a legacy that saw him notch the team's most wins as a manager in franchise history. He compiled a 544-522 win-loss record and stills stands the team's longest tenured manager.

Details of his passing were not disclosed by the Astros.

"Bill Virdon was an extremely vital part of the Astros success, leading the franchise to its first two postseason appearances," the Astros said in a statement. "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."

The Astros hired Virdon as their manager in 1975 after a long string of middling to below average seasons since the club entered the majors in 1962.

From then on, the Astros steadily improved, with Virdon leading the team to Houston's first postseason berths in 1980 and 1981. It was the success in 1980 that Virdon garnered National League Manager of the Year honors.

Virdon remained with the Astros until midway through the 1982 season. Before and after the Astros, Virdon had managerial stops with Pittsburgh Pirates, New York Yankees, and Montreal Expos.

On the field, Virdon played 13 seasons in the majors, with the majority in Pittsburgh.

Among the players who starred for the Astros during Virdon's stint was Enos Cabell, who also paid tribute to ground-breaking manager.

"I loved Bill," Cabell said in a statement through the Astros. "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."