Thursday, July 22, 2010

1967 Topps Ralph Houk Yankees Manager

Today's entry from my 1967 Topps Autographed Baseball card set is about a former manager of the New York Yankees, Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox and sadly he passed away yesterday, July 21, 2010 at age 90. It is Ralph Houk, manager of the New York Yankees. Card number 468 in the 1967 Topps Baseball card set of 609 cards.

This card was obtained with a through the mail request to Ralph Houk's home in Florida on July 13, 2009. He graciously autographed the card with a blue sharpie and returned it to me 15 days later. Thank you Mr. Houk.

Also, I have the 1967 Topps Yankees Team card signed by Ralph Houk. Card #131 in the set and was obtained through a dealer on ebay.

Ralph "The Major" Houk played in the major league for 8 seasons from 1947 to 1954 and appeared in 91 games as a backup catcher for the Yankees' Yogi Berra. His career statistics include a .272 batting average, 54 hits and 20 runs batted in. He enjoyed the heyday of New York Yankees World Championships. He earned 6 championship rings in 7 seasons from 1947 to 1953.

Ralph Houk's managerial career began in grand fashion with the New York Yankees in 1961. During that season, Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle pursued Babe Ruth's single season home run record of 60 set in 1927. Mantle ended the season with 54 dingers while Maris caught and passed Ruth with his 61st long ball on the final day of the season. He also managed the Yankees to the championship in 1962. Houk managed the Yankees to the World Series also in 1963, but lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers. After the 1963 season, he moved into the front office of the Yankees, only to returned to managing in 1966. Ralph Houk continued to manage the Yankees until the end of 1973 season. Houk also managed the Detroit Tigers from 1974 to 1978 and the Boston Red Sox from 1981 to 1984. During his 20 year managerial career, he won 1619 games versus 1531 games. After his managerial career was over, Ralph Houk worked in the front office of the Minnesota Twins before finally retiring in 1989.

Before making it to the Major Leagues, Ralph Houk was a catcher working his way through the Yankees' farm system when the U.S. entered World War II. He enlisted in the armed forces, became an Army Ranger, and was commissioned as a lieutenant after attending officer's candidate school; he later was promoted to to major. He was a combat veteran of Bastogne and the Battle of the Bulge, and was awarded the Silver Star, Purple Heart and Bronze Star.

To learn more about Ralph Houk's career, go to his biography at

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