Longtime manager Houk dies at age 90

BOSTON — Ralph Houk, who managed the powerhouse Yankees of the early 1960s to two World Series championships during a 20-year career, died Wednesday in Winter Haven. He was 90.

Mr. Houk also managed the Tigers and Red Sox in a career that spanned three decades.

Before reaching the big leagues with the Yankees in 1947, Mr. Houk served in the Army in World War II and rose to the rank of major.

He spent parts of eight seasons as a backup catcher for New York. Former Yankees SS Tony Kubek said Mr. Houk learned a lot about handling a pitching staff from working with Hall of Famer catchers Yogi Berra and Bill Dickey in the bullpen.

"He had the Yankees' spirit, the Yankees' winning attitude," Kubek said. "He had all the qualities that make a special manager."

Mr. Houk replaced Casey Stengel as Yankees manager and led the team to World Series titles in 1961 and '62. He went 1,619-1,531 in his career and is 15th in managerial victories, behind Tampa native Lou Piniella.

MATTINGLY'S GOOF: Don Mattingly, filling in as Dodgers manager after the ejection of Joe Torre, made a costly mistake in the ninth inning of Tuesday night's 7-5 loss to the Giants.

With the bases loaded, one out and a 5-4 lead, Mattingly visited closer Jonathan Broxton. He then took a few steps off the dirt toward the dugout before turning and advising 1B James Loney what depth to play at.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy protested to plate umpire Adrian Johnson that Mattingly's about-face constituted a second trip to the mound. The umpires agreed, and Broxton had to leave. LHP George Sherrill came in and gave up a two-run double to Andres Torres.

On Wednesday, Torre, Dodgers LHP Clayton Kershaw and bench coach Bob Schaefer were suspended over incidents during the game.

RANGERS SALE: Hall of Fame pitcher Nolan Ryan called on a federal bankruptcy judge to auction off the Rangers on Aug.  4 as planned, saying a delay could hurt the team and maybe cost it slugger Josh Hamilton.

Ryan testified in his capacity as team president, though he and Pittsburgh sports attorney Chuck Greenberg have the endorsement of Major League Baseball to buy the Rangers.

OBITUARY: Clint Hartung, a one-time Giants phenom who scored as a pinch-runner on Bobby Thomson's 1951 pennant-winning homer, died July 8 in Sinton, Texas. He was 87.

CUBS: TV broadcaster Bob Brenly joined Ryne Sandberg in expressing interest in replacing manager Lou Piniella, who says he is retiring after this season. … RHP Carlos Zambrano is scheduled to pitch out of the bullpen for Triple-A Iowa today. Zambrano is on the restricted list over a dugout confrontation with Derrek Lee on June 25.

MARINERS: LHP Erik Bedard said he likely won't pitch this season because he still has issues inside his surgically repaired shoulder.

MARLINS: LHP Nate Robertson, who has an 8.53 ERA in his past five starts, was designated for assignment.

PADRES: 2B David Eckstein went on the 15-day disabled list with a right calf strain.

PHILLIES: LHP Jamie Moyer returned to Philadelphia to be examined by team medical personnel a day after an elbow injury forced him out of a start.

ROYALS: RHP Anthony Lerew is not expected to make his next start after bruising his right ribs and right biceps Tuesday.

TWINS: RHP Nick Blackburn, who is 1-6 with a 9.88 ERA in his past nine starts, was moved to the bullpen and replaced by LHP Brian Duensing.

Longtime manager Houk dies at age 90 07/21/10 [Last modified: Thursday, July 22, 2010 1:08am]

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