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Ralph Houk – 1973 Topps #116

Ralph George Houk (August 9, 1919 – July 21, 2010), nicknamed The Major, was an American catcher, coach, manager, and front office executive in Major League Baseball. He is best known as the successor of Casey Stengel as the manager of the New York Yankees from 1961–63, when he won three consecutive American League pennants and the 1961–62 World Series championships.
Houk’s last years as an active player were actually spent as the Yankees’ full-time bullpen coach. In 1955, he was named manager of the Yanks’ AAA affiliate, the Denver Bears of the American Association. Following three highly successful seasons at Denver, Houk returned to the Bronx as Stengel’s first-base coach from 1958 to 1960. From late May through early June 1960, Houk served as acting manager of the Yanks for 13 games while Stengel, 70, was sidelined by illness.  Then, after the Yanks lost the 1960 World Series to the Pittsburgh Pirates, and with Houk one of the hottest managerial candidates in baseball, the Yankees “discharged” Stengel and promoted Houk.
He died in July 2010 in Winter Haven, Florida. At age 90 he was, at the time, the oldest living manager of a World Series-winning, pennant-winning or post-season team. He was survived by a daughter, Donna; a son, Robert; four grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. On July 22 the Yankees announced players and coaches would wear a black armband in Houk’s memory on the left sleeve of their home and away uniforms for the remainder of the 2010 season.

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