Ralph Houk, who managed the powerhouse Yankees teams of the early 1960s to two World Series championships, died Wednesday at his home in Winter Haven, Fla. He was 90.
Houk’s grandson, Scott Slaboden, said in an e-mail that Houk “died peacefully of natural causes after having a brief illness.” It comes after the recent deaths of former Yankees owner George Steinbrenner and longtime P.A. announcer Bob Sheppard.
Houk spent parts of eight seasons as a backup catcher for the New York Yankees, appearing in 91 games.
He made his mark as a manager, managing 3,157 games and winning 1,619 over 20 seasons with the Yankees, Tigers and Red Sox.
His best seasons as a manager were his first three. He took over the New Yankees in 1961 and behind Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris the team won 109 game and a World Series championship.
The Yankees repeated as champions in 1962 and won the AL pennant in 1963, but were swept by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series.
Houk was the Yankees’ general manager in 1964-65 before returning to manage the Yankees from 1966-73, but he only had four more winning seasons and never finished better than second.
He moved on to manage the Tigers (1974-78) then finished out his career in Boston (1981-84).
PIRATE’S WIFE GUILTY
The wife of Pittsburgh Pirates outfielder Jose Tabata, accused of faking a pregnancy and stealing a baby in 2009 to fool her husband into thinking he was the father, has pleaded guilty.
Amalia Tabata-Pereira, 44, admitted guilt in Tampa, Fla., to charges of kidnapping, interference with custody and impersonating a public officer – she posed as an immigration official and threatened a migrant worker and her boyfriend with deportation if they didn’t give her their baby girl.
Sentencing is Sept. 30.
Suspensions and undisclosed fines were handed down for Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Clayton Kershaw (five games), manager Joe Torre (one game) and bench coach Bob Schaefer (one game) resulting from the team’s loss to the San Francisco Giants on Tuesday. Kershaw has appealed. … Phillies left-hander Jamie Moyer returned to Philadelphia to be examined by team medical personnel, a day after suffering an elbow injury. … The Florida Marlins designated left-hander Nate Robertson for assignment. … San Diego Padres second baseman David Eckstein was put on the 15-day disabled list with a right calf strain. … The Minnesota Twins moved struggling right-hander Nick Blackburn into the bullpen.