The Obit For Tom Haller

Tom Haller dies at 67

All-Star catcher was also Giants general manager
By Rich Draper /

11/28/2004 2:51 PM ET

SAN FRANCISCO -- He was a big man with a genial personality and easy smile, and a longtime favorite of San Francisco Giants fans.

Tom Haller, 67, a former Giants catcher and coach who served as the team's general manager from 1981-85, died Friday following a long illness in Los Angeles.

His son, Tom Haller Jr., reported his father, who had a 12-year career in the Major Leagues, had been hospitalized with a viral infection in August.

Haller, who starred for the Giants from 1961-67, also played for Los Angeles and Detroit, retiring after the 1972 season. A left-handed batter, he had a .257 lifetime average with 134 home runs and 504 RBIs.

"On behalf of the Giants organization, I want to extend our wishes to Joan and her family," said Giants president and managing general partner Peter Magowan. "We lost not only a great player, but a great man who gave a lot to the Giants and baseball."

Born June 23, 1937, in Lockport, Ill., he was signed by the Giants as a free agent out of the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana in 1958.

Haller was an all-star backstop in 1966, 1967 and 1968 and was selected in fan balloting to the Giants 25th Anniversary team in 1982. He was also named to the Giants all-time squad in 1999.

He holds the club's single-season home run record for catchers with 27 in 1966. Among his career highlights were a homer and three RBIs against the Yankees in the 1962 World Series.

Haller was traded in February 1968 to Los Angeles, along with minor league Frank Kasheta, for Ron Hunt and Nate Oliver.

During his the 1972 season at Detroit, Haller caught in a game while his brother, Bill Haller, umpired behind the plate. It was a Major League first. Haller was released by the Philadelphia Phillies in 1974.

He is survived by his wife, Joan, and two sons, Tom, Jr. and Tim, his brother Bill and his sister Joyce Ganz.

A memorial service will be held Friday at 11 a.m. PT at the St. Johns Lutheran Church in Palm Desert, Calif.