"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

“The Major” passes

Ralph Houk For the third time in less than two weeks, the Yankees have lost a noteworthy member of their family.  Ralph Houk, their manager from 1961-63, and again from 1966-73, has passed away at the age of 90.

Houk piloted the Yanks to two World Series titles and another AL pennant in his first three seasons at the helm.

Houk also skippered the Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox after he left the Yankees.   At the time of his death, he was the oldest surviving manager of a World Series champion.

Our condolences go out to Houk’s family.

(Image: Beckett Media)

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1 OldYanksFan   ~  Jul 21, 2010 10:43 pm

Wow... lots of loses this week. Ralph was a decent guy.

A little good news from RAB:
Jesus Montero, DH
3 for 3, 1 2B, 1 RBI, 1 BB.
Eight for his last nine with two doubles & two homers.
.420/.532/.740 in July … he hasn’t struck out in ten days.

Looks like our boy has figured out AAA.
Fuck Cliff Lee.
Long Live Jesus!

2 Chyll Will   ~  Jul 21, 2010 11:06 pm

I guess that makes three. If your a Yankee fan, you hope that the quota's filled for a good while...

[1] Oh, you say that now, but come Free Agency time... but it's not surprising; it's just the type of reaction one would only dream of your top prospect having after being nearly traded.

3 Mattpat11   ~  Jul 21, 2010 11:24 pm

What a lousy month

4 Sliced Bread   ~  Jul 22, 2010 8:18 am

My dad's a Ralph Houk fan. Used to talk about him quite a bit. As a kid, I used to mix him up with Hank Bauer. "Wait, which was Houk, which was Hank?" Pop would set me straight. Combat veteran, fought the Battle of the Bulge, and Mick's Battle of the Bottle.
A man, and a manager to be saluted.
Rest in Peace, Major.

5 RagingTartabull   ~  Jul 22, 2010 9:24 am

Its sad, but he sure did have a great run.

Amazing how he had not just success early, but historic/still talking about it 50 years later success...and then not much for about 20 years. Not that he was a bad manager, far from it, in fact he's probably a criminally underrated manager. Its just kinda odd.

And I will never understand why taking a team that honestly had no business being there all the way to Game 7 wasn't enough to save Yogi's job in '64.

The decision to fire him was made by Houk and Topping in mid-Summer before they went on a huge late season run, then they reconsidered when the team won the pennant, then they went back again once Yogi committed the unforgivable sin of having a rookie pitcher lose to Bob Freakin' Gibson in Game 7. Again, odd.

6 kenboyer made me cry   ~  Jul 22, 2010 10:28 am

[5] Yogi was mistreated after the '64 World Series, and to rub salt in the wound the Yanks hired Johnny Keane to replace him. Keane was the manager of the Cardinals who just defeated the Yankees in that World Series. Even as a little kid, that gave me pause, and I questioned Yankee management and lack of loyalty to their living legend star. Yogi was spared the quick decline of the team after '64, and he probably got the last laugh.

I never liked Houk because he was involved in Yogi's firing as GM, plus he returned to manage the Yankees in those dark days in the late sixties and early seventies when the team was in the basement or near to it in the standings. In addition, he managed the hated Red Sox later on. I was too young to know him in his earlier days as "The Major".

The '64 WS was a watershed moment for me (hence my handle) as a 7 year old. I can still remember the moment when Ken Boyer hit that grand slam in game four that turned the series around. Al Downing was cruising with a 3 run lead, and somehow the Cardinals scratched a few hits in the 6th, and Bobby Richardson booted a double play ball that would have ended the inning. The bases were loaded for Ken Boyer, and he hit that slam that changed the series, as the Yanks would have been up 3 games to 1 without it. In game 7, Ken Boyer was involved seemingly in every run, and the Yankees valiantly battled to come back from a 6-0 deficit against Bob Gibson. Mantle hit a 3 run homer, and both Ken and Clete Boyer homered in the game, and I believe that is the only time brothers homered in the same WS game. The final score was 7-5, as the Yankees fell short scoring 2 in the ninth. At the time, I did not believe that the Yankees could ever lose a World Series, but after that year, being a fan of the cellar dwelling Yankees was character building as just about everyone else gloated in their futility. The Damn Yankees got theirs.

RIP Ralph Houk. Another storied Yankee passes.

7 rbj   ~  Jul 22, 2010 11:12 am

[2] Yes. No more deaths for the rest of the year please.

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