Bill Virdon, Manager of Four M.L.B and Former Yankees Manager, dies at 90

By | November 24, 2021

William Virdon, Death: Bill Virdon, 90-year-old, an American professional baseball outfielder, manager, and coach in Major League Baseball (MLB) passed away on Tuesday, November 23, 2021, at the Lester E. Cox Medical Center in Springfield, Missouri. From 1955 to 1968, he played in MLB for the St. Louis Cardinals and Pittsburgh Pirates. He served as a coach for the Pirates and Houston Astros and managed the Pirates, Astros, New York Yankees, and Montreal Expos. He was a part of Pittsburgh’s alumni program following his retirement often attending spring training as a special instructor. He is survived by his wife Shirley, three daughters, seven grandchildren, and 13 great-grandchildren.

Born William Charles Virdon on June 9, 1931, in Hazel Park, Michigan to Bertha and Charles Virdon, who were originally from Missouri, but moved to Hazel Park during the Great Depression, where they were able to find jobs in automotive factories. When he was 12 years old, his family moved to West Plains, Missouri. He went to West Plains High School. He competed in American football, basketball, and track, and field for the school. As West Plains did not compete in baseball, he traveled to Clay Center, Kansas, to play for their American Amateur Baseball Congress team as a center fielder and shortstop. He enrolled at Drury University in Springfield, Missouri.

Bill, who was a steady center fielder won the 1955 National League Rookie of the Year for St. Louis and guided the Houston Astros to three straight postseason appearances as a manager. He was a premier defensive outfielder during his playing days as a center fielder for the Cardinals and Pirates, he led a strong defensive team to the 1960 World Series championship. In 1962, He won a Gold Glove Award. Following the 1965 season, he retired due to his desire to become a manager. From 1972 to 1973, he served as the manager of the Pirates, before becoming the manager of the Yankees in 1974.  He managed the Expos in 1983 and 1984. He won The Sporting News Manager of the Year Award in 1974, his only full season working for the Yankees, and in 1980, while managing the Astros. He returned to the Pirates as a coach following his managerial career and remained with the Pirates as a guest instructor during spring training.

KTIM – FM 89.1 posted a tribute for the legend on their official Facebook page with the caption that his impact on the Astros organization will never be forgotten, they also extend their condolences to his family and friends. “Former Astros manager Bill Virdon, who is the franchise leader in career wins, has passed away. He was 90 years old. 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.”

Bill Virdon’s obituary will be organized by the family.