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Former Astros manager Bill Virdon dies at age 90

Virdon compiled more wins than any other head coach in franchise history.
Credit: Houston Astros

HOUSTON — Bill Virdon, the manager with the most wins in Astros franchise history, has died at age 90, the team announced on Tuesday.

Virdon became manager of the Astros in August of 1975 and would lead the team through the 1982 season. In that span, Virdon compiled a 544-522 record.  Those 544 wins is the most by a manager in franchise history.  

Virdon also led the Astros to their first postseason appearance. That was back in 1980, as the team won a one-game playoff against the Los Angeles Dodgers to give them the National League West title. That season, Virdon was named NL Manager of the Year.  

Under Virdon, the Astros would return to the playoffs the following year.

Before management stints with Houston, the New York Yankees, Montreal and Pittsburgh, Virdon was a center fielder, mostly with the Pittsburgh Pirates and was on their 1960 World Series-winning team.

Astros Statement:

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

Statement from Enos Cabell, who played for Virdon in Houston from 1975-80:

"I loved Bill. 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."