- C, LF, OF, RF, 1B
- June 23, 1937
- 6' 4"
- 195 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 4-11-1961 with SFN
After a career at quarterback for the University of Illinois, the 6'4" Haller signed with the Giants in 1958. In their pennant-winning 1962 season, he hit 18 HR as a platoon catcher. He was San Francisco's first-string receiver in the years 1964-67, and hit 27 HR in 1966. He went to the Dodgers in a 1968 trade for Ron Hunt and Nate Oliver, the first trade between the two clubs since 1956. In a ML first, on July 14, 1972, Tom was the Tiger catcher while his brother, Bill, umpired behind the plate. The durable Haller caught all 23 innings of a May 31, 1964 Mets-Giants game, and set the NL record for most double plays by a catcher in a season (23, in 1968). After serving as a Giant coach from 1977 to 1979, he was their vice president of baseball operations from mid-1981 until September 1986.
Major League career
A quarterback with the University of Illinois, Haller was signed by the Giants as an amateur free agent in 1958. He made his debut on April 11, 1961 as a platoon catcher alongside Ed Bailey.
Haller hit .261 with 18 home runs and 55 RBIs for the Giant team that lost to the New York Yankees in the 1962 World Series. He collected four hits in 14 at-bats with a home run and three RBIs in the Series.
A regular from 1964 to 1967, Haller hit career highs of 27 home runs and 67 RBIs in 1966. He was traded from the Giants to the Dodgers in February, 1968 in a four-player deal. The trade was the first between the two teams since their move to the West Coast, and also the first since the one that would have sent Jackie Robinson from the Dodgers to the Giants after the 1956 season. After hitting .285 in 1968 and .286 in 1970, Haller was sent to Detroit in December 1971. He batted .207 with two homers and 12 RBIs in 1972 and retired at the end of the season.
An All-Star in 1966, 1967, and 1968, Haller was a career .257 hitter with 134 home runs and 504 RBIs in 1294 games. He led the National League in sacrifice flies in 1968 with 9. A capable defensive catcher, he ended his career with a respectable .992 fielding percentage, which at the time of his retirement, was second only to the .993 career record of Elston Howard. Haller led National League catchers in putouts in 1965, and in baserunners caught stealing in 1968. He set the National League single season record for double plays by a catcher with 23 in 1968.
After retiring, he worked for the Giants as a coach (1977-1979), and was their vice president of baseball operations (1981-1986). He was named to the Giants' 25th anniversary team in 1982. After a long illness, Haller died in Los Angeles, California, at age of 67. Haller was the younger brother of American League umpire Bill Haller.
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