Bob Lillis was signed by the Brooklyn Dodgers as an amateur free agent in 1951 and played in thier minor league system for several years. His first major league game was in 1958
On May 30, 1961 he was traded by the Los Angeles Dodgers with Carl Warwick to the St. Louis Cardinals for Daryl Spencer. The Houston Colt .45's drafted him October 10, 1961 from the St. Louis Cardinals during the expansion draft. The Astros released him in in 1967.
A scout and instructor in the Astros organization from 1968 to 1972, he joined their major league coaching staff in 1973 and replaced Bill Virdon as manager on August 10, 1982