Buff Biographies: Ruben (Mora) Amaro

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Ruben Amaro Sr Infielder Ruben (Mora) Amaro was a two-season former Houston Buff (1956-57); outfielder Ruben Amaro, Jr. was not.

Ruben (Mora) Amaro (5’11”, 170) was born January 6, 1936 in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico; Ruben Amaro, Jr. (5’10”, 170) was born February 12, 1965 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Ruben the Father (BR/TR) batted .257 with 35 HR in 9 seasons (1954-71) as a minor leaguer; Ruben Jr. (BB/TR) batted .304 with 44 HR in 10 seasons (1987-96) as a minor leaguer.

Ruben (Mora) Amaro played shortstop for the last two Houston Buff Dixie Series championship clubs of 1956 and 1957. In each year, the Buffs defeated the Atlanta Crackers in six-game sets. Daddy Amaro batted .266 in 152 games for Houston in 1956 and .222 for the Buffs in 142 games in 1957. He was more than happy to collect his glory when it came to him, playing good defense both seasons, even if his offensive production fell hard in 1957. The Buffs both needed and benefited from the game he brought to the park as an infield spark plug and defensive leader.

Ruben Amaro, Jr.

Ruben Amaro, Jr. (He’s almost a dead ringer for his father in the featured 1965 baseball card shown above.)

Ruben the Father batted .234 with 8 HR in 11 seasons as a major leaguer with the Cardinals (1958), Phillies (1960-65), Yankees    (1966-68), and Angels (1969); Ruben the Son batted .235 with 16 HR in 8 seasons as a major leaguer with the Angels (1991), the Phillies (1992-93), the Indians (1994-95), and the Phillies again (1996-98),

Ruben Amaro, Jr. stopped playing 1998, but he had earned a reputation as a good judge of talent and a leader. by this time. After joining the Phillies as a coach, he quickly ascended to the title of Assistant General Manager under burgeoning HOF executive GM Pat Gillick, and then taking over the GM job in 2008 upon the retirement of his boss and mentor.  Recent decay in the 2013 Phillies plan and some of the big contracts that Amaro has written for players who aren’t performing at their megabuck-expectation levels have left this son of a former Buff on shaky grounds in Philadelphia.

The only cure is winning. It’s the baseball way.

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5 Responses to “Buff Biographies: Ruben (Mora) Amaro”

  1. Dr. Baseball Says:

    I seem to remember Amaro, Sr. Hitting a HR off the LF foul screen in the TX League play offs to get the Buffs to the Dixie series in ’57. Am I correct in this memory?

  2. Bill McCurdy Says:

    Dr. Baseball – Im not sure about the Amaro homer because an injury kept him out of the last game. The drama came from the Houston club blowing a 3-0 lead in games won by then losing 3 in a row to force a 7th deciding game in Dallas. In Game 7, the Buffs fell behind due to a 3-run homer by Willie McCovey in the Dallas home 1st. The Buffs then scored 2 in each of the 4th and 5th innings to take the lead by a score that would would hold up as the 4-3 final score in both the game and the series. I’m not saying for sure it didn’t happen, but I do not recall a dramatic homer by Amaro, I think Fred McAllister played in his place at shortstop that day. – Bill McCurdy

    • Dr. Baseball Says:

      I remember the HR, but I may have the timing of it off!
      Could it have been the last regular season game?
      I was nine and it was my first season watching Buff baseball.

      • Bill McCurdy Says:

        Dr. B. – I had a little chance to do some checking through a news archive service that does not include Houston papers. Prior to the 7-game win over Dallas, the ’57 Buffs also defeated San Antonio in 7, but Amaro hit no HR in the series. They also finished the season at home with a 5-2 win over Austin on 9/08/57, but I could find no details on how they scored. By that last game, they already had clinched 2nd place and a 5 game finish behind 1st place Dallas. If you have that radio memory of Amaro’s walk-off smash, it would probably take a trip to the downtown Houston library and some patience to search for when it actually occurred, but that’s also a happy pursuit. – I recommend it.

  3. Bill McCurdy Says:

    Dr. Baseball: Thanks to a little help from my friend Mike Vance, my answer to our mystery was before me all the time in my news article files. It simply wasn’t an event from 1956 or the end of the 1957 Texas League season. It happened in the 7th inning of the 6th and final game of the 1957 Dixie Series in a Houston Buffs series-concluding 3-1 win at Buff Stadium over the Atlanta Crackers.

    “Houston Cops Dixie Series” (Galveston Daily News, 10/07/1957):

    “Shortstop Ruben Amaro hit a seventh-innning disputed home run tonight to give the Houston Buffs a 3-1 victory over the Atlanta Crackers and the Dixie Series four games to two. ….

    “….. Southern (Association) umpire Walter Welaj, working at third base, ruled that Amaro’s blow, which caught Harry Keister on base, was fair, but the Crackers protested it was foul.”

    The Crackers obviously lost their protest of nearly 56 years ago, but, at least our memory is restored as to when it all happened.

    Regards, Bill McCurdy

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