(Born June 28, 1943) -- Here's the first thing you should know about "Jumbo Jim" Watson, an original member of the Buffalo Sabres. He was 6-foot-2, 188 pounds. If Zdeno Chara had played back then, they'd need an entirely new set of adjectives to describe him.
Watson had a long career that went through a lot of leagues and cities. He started as a professional when he played one game for the Detroit Red Wings in the 1963-64 season, dividing the rest of that season between Indianapolis and Cincinnati. He played one more game for Detroit in 1964-65, and two more in 1965-66. After a full year in San Diego in 1966-67, the defenseman finally got to be a regular with Detroit in 1967-68.
However, that status didn't stick. He was mostly in the minors in the next two seasons before he finally wound up as a Buffalo Sabres. Watson was there on opening night in Pittsburgh when the Sabres debuted. What's more, he scored the first goal in team history. It came at 5:01 of the first period.
Watson played 78 games in that first season. He never played more games in one city in one year in his career. The defenseman was back in 1971-72 for 66 more games.
In the summer of 1972, he jumped to the Los Angeles Sharks of the World Hockey Association. Watson passed through a couple of more stops before finishing his career with the Quebec Nordiques in 1976.
He finished with 231 games in the NHL, and 144 of them were in Buffalo.
--- Budd Bailey
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