William Harton Thomas Watkins
- Bats Right, Throws Unknown
- Height 5' 10", Weight 156 lb.
- Debut August 1, 1884
- Final Game October 13, 1884
- Born May 5, 1858 in Brantford, ON CAN
- Died June 9, 1937 in Port Huron, MI USA
Bill Watkins managed major league teams for nine seasons in the 19th Century and also played in 1884.
Watkins was born in Brantford, ON, not far from Niagara Falls, ON. Between the majors and the minors, he managed at least 22 seasons. He also played ball in the northern U.S. including in Port Huron, MI the place where he eventually died in 1937.
Watkins saw Sam Thompson play when they were both in Indianapolis and in 1885 Watkins acquired Thompson for the Detroit Wolverines. The move paid off handsomely when the Wolverines won both the pennant and post-season play in 1887, with Thompson and the "Big Four" as stars.
The Big Four had big salaries, and that caused stresses on the Detroit team's financial status. At one point, Watkins recommended moving to the American Association where there would be better financial flexibility in terms of handling gate receipts. That didn't happen, and after a couple more years the Detroit team ceased to exist.
In 1902 the Indianapolis Indians minor league franchise was awarded to Watkins, and he named himself president and manager. The team went 96-45. Although he became manager of the Minneapolis Millers in 1903, he later (1906-1912) again served as president of Indianapolis.
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|Pittsburgh Pirates Manager