|Third baseman / Manager|
May 5, 1858|
|Died: June 9, 1937
Port Huron, Michigan
|Batted: Right||Threw: Unknown|
|August 1, 1884 for the Indianapolis Hoosiers|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 13, 1884 for the Indianapolis Hoosiers|
William Henry "Bill" Watkins (May 5, 1858 – June 9, 1937) was a Canadian baseball player and manager. In 1887, he led the Detroit Wolverines to the first professional sports championship for Detroit, Michigan. The Wolverines won the 1887 National League championship and went on to defeat the St. Louis Browns in a 15-game World Series.
Watkins was born in Brantford, Ontario in 1858. In 1881, at age 23, he was the manager of the St. Thomas Athletics from St. Thomas, Ontario. He led the Athletics to the Ontario provincial baseball championship in 1881. In 1882, he took over as the manager of the Port Huron, Michigan team in the Michigan State League and led the team to championships in both 1882 and 1883. In 1884, Watkins managed the Bay City, Michigan team. In 1884 and 1885, he was a player-manager for the Indianapolis Hoosiers. Watkins was a third baseman in his days as a player. While playing for Indianapolis, Watkins was hit on the head by a pitch from Gus Shallix on August 26, 1884, at Cincinnati, Ohio. Newspaper accounts indicate that he "hovered between life and death" for five days. It took two weeks for him to recover and during that time, he lost sixteen pounds. His hair turned prematurely white at age 29 due to the injury.
When the Western Association folded before the end of the 1885 season, Watkins was hired by the Detroit Wolverines. Watkins built the Detroit team from a sixth place finish in 1885 to second place in 1886 and to the National League pennant in 1887. Watkins later served as the manager for the Kansas City Cowboys, Indianapolis Indians, St. Louis Browns and Pittsburgh Pirates between 1889 and 1899.
- Cincinnati Enquirer. September 28, 1884.
- Edgar Brands (July 8, 1937). "Beanball Turned Watkins' Hair White". The Sporting News. p. 4.
- "Former area resident 'very worthy of honor'". Times Herald, Port Huron, Mich. October 24, 2008.
- "Necrology: William H. (Wattie) Watkins". The Sporting New. June 17, 1937. p. 2.
- Baseball-Reference.com - career managing record and playing statistics