Ex-Yankees manager Ralph Houk dies

Published Jul. 21, 2010 1:00 a.m. ET

Ralph Houk, who managed the powerhouse Yankees teams of the early 1960s to two World Series championships, died Wednesday. He was 90.

Red Sox spokesman Dick Bresciani said Houk's grandson, Scott Slaboden, told the team Houk died at his home in Winter Haven, Fla.

Houk spent parts of eight seasons as a backup catcher for the New York Yankees, appearing in just 91 games.

''People forget that before he was a manager, he was a war hero and he was a catcher for a lot of years,'' Tigers radio analyst Jim Price said. ''He was a great guy, I knew him very well, and everyone that played for him loved him.''

He made his mark as a manager, managing 3,157 games and winning 1,619 over 20 seasons with the Yankees, Detroit 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 games 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 moved into the front office after that series, becoming Yankees general manager in 1964 and '65.

He returned to managing the Yankees in 1966 and held the job until 1973, but he had only four more winning seasons and never finished better than second place.

He moved on to the Tigers in 1974 and was their manager until 1978, but the team's only winning season under Houk came in his last season.

He managed the Red Sox from 1981-84 and retired with a winning percentage of .514 overall.