BASEBALL DAILY REPORT : AROUND THE MAJORS : Astros Fire Howe and Wood; Watson Becomes Second Black General Manager

Associated Press

Art Howe was fired as manager and Bill Wood as general manager of the Houston Astros on Tuesday.

Owner Drayton McLane replaced Wood with former Astro Bob Watson, who became the second black general manager in baseball.

"In my years as a business executive, I've always focused on the leadership," McLane said. "And I think that's what Bob brings to the organization.

"He's highly qualified. He has two World Series rings that I see every time that I see him. That represents success, and that's what we're looking for."

The Astros were 85-77 this season, third in the NL West, after signing free-agent pitchers Doug Drabek and Greg Swindell to four-year contracts totaling $36.5 million. Both pitchers, however, had losing years.

"This is a tremendous challenge, an important step forward in my life," said Watson, preceded only by Bill Lucas of Atlanta in the 1970s as a black general manager in the major leagues.


The Texas Rangers extended the contract of Manager Kevin Kennedy, who guided the club to a second-place finish in the AL West in his first season.


Dodger Manager Tom Lasorda was made an honorary citizen of Atlanta, but accepted the award with reservations.

"I'm accepting this because I married a girl from Greenville, S.C., and I love the city of Atlanta," Lasorda said in receiving a plaque signed by Mayor Maynard Jackson.

The Dodgers victory over San Francisco on Sunday allowed the Braves to clinch the National League West division title.

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