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Joe Horlen R.I.P...

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  • Joe Horlen R.I.P...

    It seems like every week now the Sox are losing a member of the family.

    Saw where he passed away Monday at the age of 84. Joe was in a retirement home in the San Antonio area where he'd spent the last several years. He was suffering from Alzheimer's and basically couldn't remember anything about his baseball career.

    Had the chance to do a long interview with him in 2005 and got to know him before his health turned bad.

    He was an excellent pitcher on those very, very good Sox teams of the mid 1960's. Led the league in ERA one year, finished runner-up in the Cy Young voting in 1967 (he should have won it), came within two outs of a no-hitter in 1963, then pitched one in the middle of a pennant race in 1967.

    He also had the "distinction" of being one of only two MLB players (that I know of) to make his debut wearing a blank jersey!

    This is from my interview with him where he talked about it:

    JH: “I was actually supposed to start the next day’s game. Because of that the Sox felt they were going to have some time getting a jersey for me. I was sitting in the bullpen wearing my warm up jacket because I was a little embarrassed and the guys were giving it to me. Then during the middle of the game the phone rings and Al Lopez (Author’s Note: White Sox manager) said to get me up and ready. The Sox had used a lot of pitchers in the series right before going to Minnesota and they were shorthanded. (Author’s Note: It was a five game series in Washington that had two double headers in a span of three days. The Sox would win four of the five games played.) So I go in and right as I’m ready to throw my first pitch in the majors, Twins manager Sam Mele called time and went out to talk with the home plate umpire. (Author’s Note: Mele played for the White Sox in 1952 and 1953.) Mele is talking and then he points to me and shrugs his shoulders like ‘Who the heck is that guy?’ Everyone got a good laugh out of it including myself and it might have helped me since it relieved the tension.”

    Hope Joe is able to rest in peace now.
    Last edited by Lipman 1; 04-13-2022, 11:51 AM.

  • #2
    One of my all time Sox favorites. A real hard luck pitcher who had an excellent ERA with the Sox but was only a .500 pitcher with a 113-113. Those weak Sox hitting teams of the 60's really hurt Joe, with better run support his W-L record would have been a lot better, probably more like 123-103, maybe even better. May he rest in peace.
    Last edited by LITTLE NELL; 04-13-2022, 12:44 PM.
    Now coming up to bat for the White Sox is the Mighty Mite, Nelson Fox.

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    • #3
      Key part of the first Big Three I remember, with Gary Peters and Juan Pizarro. Do I misremember his first name as "Joel"?

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      • #4
        Originally posted by KenBerryGrab View Post
        Key part of the first Big Three I remember, with Gary Peters and Juan Pizarro. Do I misremember his first name as "Joel"?
        That was his legal first name but everybody called him Joe.

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        • #5
          Originally posted by LITTLE NELL View Post
          One of my all time Sox favorites. A real hard luck pitcher who had an excellent ERA with the Sox but was only a .500 pitcher with a 113-113. Those weak Sox hitting teams of the 60's really hurt Joe, with better run support his W-L record would have been a lot better, probably more like 123-103, maybe even better. May he rest in peace.
          You got that right Nell. Those Sox hurlers including Mr. Horlen would have better W/L records if the lumber hackers racked up a few more runs along the way. Rest In Peace. You made my childhood a happy place those many summer days and nights.

          BK59

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          • #6
            Originally posted by KenBerryGrab View Post
            Key part of the first Big Three I remember, with Gary Peters and Juan Pizarro. Do I misremember his first name as "Joel"?
            Great trio of hurlers. Toss in John,Whilhelm and Fisher and you could take a toilet break and not have to worry about a thing.

            BK59

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            • #7
              What a great pitcher! This is so sad. May he rest in peace.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by KenBerryGrab View Post
                Key part of the first Big Three I remember, with Gary Peters and Juan Pizarro. Do I misremember his first name as "Joel"?
                John Buzhardt had a few good years with the Sox and gave us a 4 reliable starters Tommy John came along in 1965 as Pizarro was falling off. We also had good arms in the bullpen with guys like Wilhelm, Fisher, Locker and a few more. All that great pitching gave us a bunch of wins in the 60s especially 63, 64 and 65 when they went 287-199, the teams 3 best consecutive years in their history. Too bad the MLB didn't have playoffs like the NHL and the NBA did back then or even what MLB has now.
                A lot of "what ifs" in those days, looking back there was a lot of heartache especially in 1967 but what fun we had watching winning baseball year after year after year.
                Last edited by LITTLE NELL; 04-13-2022, 02:55 PM.
                Now coming up to bat for the White Sox is the Mighty Mite, Nelson Fox.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by LITTLE NELL View Post

                  Actually it was a big 4 with Tommy John.
                  By the time John arrived for the start of the 1965 season, Pizarro was basically on his way out in part because of arm issues and also because of some off the field situations where he'd arrive late for a game etc. And don't forget Ray Herbert was part of that starting group when Joe came along, he was a 20 game winner in 1962 and threw four straight shut outs in 1963.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Lipman 1 View Post

                    By the time John arrived for the start of the 1965 season, Pizarro was basically on his way out in part because of arm issues and also because of some off the field situations where he'd arrive late for a game etc. And don't forget Ray Herbert was part of that starting group when Joe came along, he was a 20 game winner in 1962 and threw four straight shut outs in 1963.
                    I never forgot Herbert, 1962 was the year I was a vendor at Comiskey and Wrigley and saw a lot of his games that year. There were also 2 All Star games in 1962 IIRC a few weeks apart and Ray Herbert was the winning pitcher in the second game which was played at Wrigley, for some reason I didn't work that game but watched it on TV.
                    Last edited by LITTLE NELL; 04-13-2022, 03:15 PM.
                    Now coming up to bat for the White Sox is the Mighty Mite, Nelson Fox.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I’ll never forget Joel’s pitching style, two feet on the rubber staring down the batter with his cheek loaded with tissue paper. If Sox play tonight I hope a tribute is made to him or at least a moment of silence. He was a Sox great.

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                      • #12
                        My extensive and comprehensive interview with Joe from 2005 if anyone is interested:

                        https://www.southsidesox.com/2022/4/...riam-1937-2022

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                        • #13
                          Joel "Hard Luck" Horlen was a staple in the starting rotation throughout most the 1960s. One of my all-time favorites watching him pitch every fourth game. True, the offense on those Sox teams robbed him. He should have had a lot more wins during his career. Old number 20 could really work the corners and he frustrated many batters with his low, heavy, sinking pitches. His no hitter in September of 1967 against the Tigers in the heat of the pennant race kept Sox hopes alive before "Black Wednesday" in Kansas City a few weeks later dashed our title hopes.

                          RIP Joe (or Joel). Long-time Sox fans will always remember you fondly.

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                          • #14
                            Very sad to hear the news. I loved Joel Horlen and always thought he deserved a better W-L record, he pitched his heart out for this team. I remember during the Summer of ‘71 listening to a game on the radio and Joe was paired up to face the young fire baller Vida Blue in Oakland. Vida Blue that summer was a HUGE gate attraction and having the season of his life. I remember Joe pitched a great game, the old vet vs the young up and comer, and lost a heartbreaking game 1-0. I still remember reading the next day’s papers and Horlen was really disappointed he/Sox lost the game and he felt he was matching Vida Blue pitch for pitch and inning by inning.

                            Fast forward to 1972 and Joel Horlen landed in Oakland and ironically got his World Series ring, and the Sox were 1 Pitcher short all year long, and who knows how much better the Sox would’ve been had they kept Joe for the ‘72 season? RIP Joe. Click image for larger version

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                            • #15
                              I was starting pitcher for first game of our Little League season ca. 1970, and Joel was there to throw out the first pitch. Stood on the mound next to me — the first big leaguer I'd ever met! Was just as gracious as you'd expect. I was surprised by how leathery his neck and face were, which my dad later explained is from being out in the sun a lot. Who knew?

                              His '67 no-no was the first I ever saw. Part of a dominant big three with Tommy John and Gary Peters. RIP Joe.

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