Ralph Houk’s bumpy road to Detroit

Ralph Houk joined the Tigers shortly after resigning as manager of the Yankees. But it wasn’t that simple thanks to new Yankees owner George Steinbrenner and the owner of the Oakland A’s, Charlie Finley.

The Yankees wanted to hire A’s manager Dick Williams, even though he was still under contract with Finley.

No bother.

The Yankees hired him anyway. Of course, Finley raised hell and demanded the Yankees compensate his club with a player or two. Then, the Yankees asked American League President Joe Cronin to require the Tigers to compensate them for hiring Houk.

In the end, Williams didn’t manage the Yankees, the Tigers didn’t owe them anything, and they ended up hiring Bill Virdon – who held the job for a season and a half until Billy Martin, whose firing in Detroit started this whole mess, was hired by Steinbrenner. Finley wound up hiring Alvin Dark to manage the A’s in 1974.

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