Thursday, December 02, 2010

#465 Tom Haller

#465 Tom Haller
I like the green-painted gates and the red-clad ushers behind Tom Haller in this photo. Can any of you eagle-eyed readers help me figure out which ballpark this is?

Fun facts about Tom Haller:

-Tom was born in Lockport, IL and played quarterback at the University of Illinois. He signed with the Giants in 1958.

-He debuted with San Francisco in 1961, but an April 12 home run against Vern Law was one of just 9 hits in a 30-game introduction to the majors. He batted .145 and spent the rest of the year at AAA Tacoma for seasoning.

-Returning to the bigs in 1962, Haller established himself as the Giants' primary catcher with a .261 average, .384 on-base percentage, 18 home runs and 55 RBI in 99 games. He started four games in the World Series that year and went 4-for-14 (.286). His two-run homer off of Whitey Ford in the second inning of Game Four gave his team an early lead in a contest they would win 7-3.

-On May 31, 1964, he caught all 23 innings of the Giants' 8-6 win over the Mets! He was 4-for-10 at the plate with a triple and an RBI.

-Tom made the All-Star team in three consecutive seasons: 1966 (career-high 27 HR, 67 RBI), 1967 (117 OPS+), and 1968 (.285 AVG, 27 2B, 128 OPS+ in his first season with the Dodgers).

-Throughout his career, he had a reputation as an adept defensive catcher. His overall fielding percentage was .992, and he led the National League in runners caught stealing with 48 in 1968. That was also the year that he set an N.L. single-season record with 23 double plays turned as a catcher.

-Haller hit two game-winning pinch homers in 1970. The first was a two-out, seventh-inning grand slam off of Montreal's Claude Raymond on July 22 to turn a 10-7 deficit into an 11-10 lead for Los Angeles. The other was a three-run shot with nobody out in the top of the tenth on September 13; Jerry Johnson of the Giants was the victim as the Dodgers won 5-3.

-Imagine how the Royals felt on July 14, 1972 when they saw Tom catching for the Tigers while his older brother Bill (an American League umpire from 1963-1982) served as home plate umpire! If the latter showed preferential treatment to his kin, it didn't show up in the box score; K.C. won 1-0. It was the only instance in Tom's lone season in the A.L. that both were behind the plate, but naturally Earl Weaver complained to league president Joe Cronin about the general possibility of bias.

-He hit .207 in spot duty with the Tigers and retired at the end of the 1972 season. In parts of 12 years in the majors, he hit .257 with 134 home runs and 504 RBI.

-Haller stayed with the Giants long after retiring, wearing the mantles of coach (1977-1979), farm director (1980-1981), and general manager (1981-1985). In 1986, he served a brief tenure as assistant GM for the White Sox. He passed away at age 67 in November 2004 after battling a viral infection.
#465 Tom Haller (back)


  1. Kevin, it doesn't look like Shea to me, so I'm going with the Polo Grounds.

  2. Polo Grounds (confidence factor = 99.99%). I'd know for sure with a better look at those ushers' hats.
    It's certainly not Shea, Wrigley, or Forbes Field.

  3. I vote polo grounds, because of the chain linking defining the box seat section, which if I know my stadium life spans, then the photo was taken in 1963 or 1962.

  4. Majority rules: Polo Grounds it is. Thanks!