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Detroit Tigers Worst Managers of All Time

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Ralph Houk (1974-1978)

The 1970s was not one of the Tigers best decades. Even though they were coming off of the 1968 World Series win, the team had some rough years. The worst manager from the 1970s was Ralph Houk. Before Houk, Billy Martin managed for a handful of years after Mayo Smith ended his tenure in 1970. Martin left the team in good condition, but Houk did not take advantage of this. In only one year – 1978, Houk led the team to a winning percentage above .500. In his four other years, his percentage moved between .358 and .460. In 1975, the Tigers finished 37 ½ games back with 57 wins and 102 losses.

Prior to his time in Detroit, Houk played, minimally, for the New York Yankees as a catcher. In 1947, he started in 41 games. In 1948, he started in 14. In his five other years in New York, he played in less than 10 games each year. He had one at-bat and one hit in the 1947 World Series where he played with greats like Yogi Berra, Joe DiMaggio, and Phil Rizzuto. He did manage the 1961 and 1962 Yankees to the World Series, with players like Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, and Whitey Ford. Unfortunately for the Tigers, he did not deliver even with Mickey Stanley, Bill Freehan, Ron LeFlore, Willie Horton, and Mickey Lolich on his 1974 team that finished with a .358 win percentage. He went on to successfully manage the Red Sox until he finally retired in 1984. 

Next: The Second Worst Manager

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