Joe Horlen

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Joel Edward Horlen

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Biographical Information[edit]

A mainstay in the Chicago White Sox rotation for most of the 1960s, Joe Horlen was known as a hard-luck pitcher, posting records around .500 despite recording low earned run averages for much of his career. He was just as often called by his full first name, Joel Horlen.

After leading Oklahoma State University to the 1959 College World Series crown, Horlen was soon signed by the White Sox. He reached the majors late in the 1961 campaign and soon was a regular in the team's rotation. Facing the Washington Senators on July 29, 1963, he took a no-hitter into the 9th inning, but ultimately lost both the no-hitter and the game. The following summer, he posted a 1.88 ERA, second-best in the American League, as Chicago finished second in the AL.

Horlen had his best season in 1967. That year, he won his first eight decisions and was selected to the AL All-Star squad, and on September 10th, he threw a no-hitter against the Detroit Tigers (missing out on a perfect game only because he hit one batter and first baseman Ken Boyer had made an error). He ended that season with a career-best 19 wins while leading the AL with a 2.06 ERA and 6 shutouts, but finished second to Jim Lonborg in Cy Young Award voting.

Following his best season, Horlen posted sub-.500 records and increasing ERAs in the next four years for Chicago. He was released by the White Sox at the end of spring training in 1972 and soon signed with the Oakland Athletics. Pitching mostly out of the bullpen for the team, he posted a 3.00 ERA in 32 outings and made his only World Series appearance of his career, giving up an earned run in one and a third innings against the Cincinnati Reds. After being released by the A's following the season, he briefly played in the Cleveland Indians organization in 1973 before retiring.

After his playing days, Horlen ran a roofing business for more than a decade before getting back into baseball as a minor league coach in 1986. He spent fourteen years coaching in the New York Mets, San Francisco Giants, and San Diego Padres organizations. In 1989, he played for the St. Lucie Legends of the Senior Professional Baseball Association.

He is not to be confused with his contemporary, Joe Hoerner. Both were pitchers with long careers, but Horlen pitched in the American League as a starter while Hoerner was primarily in the National League as a reliever.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • AL All-Star (1967)
  • AL ERA Leader (1967)
  • AL Shutouts Leader (1967)
  • 15 Wins Seasons: 1 (1967)
  • 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 6 (1964-1969)
  • Won a World Series with the Oakland Athletics in 1972

Further Reading[edit]

  • Gregory H. Wolf: "Joe Horlen", in Chip Greene, ed.: Mustaches and Mayhem, Charlie O's Three-Time Champions: The Oakland Athletics 1972-74, SABR, Phoenix, AZ, 2015, pp. 210-216. ISBN 978-1-943816-07-1

Related Sites[edit]