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Bob Horner
Third baseman / First baseman
Born: August 6, 1957 (1957-08-06) (age 52)
Junction City, Kansas
Bats: Right Throws: Right
Professional debut
MLB: June 16, 1978 for the Atlanta Braves
NPB: 1987 for the Yakult Swallows
Last professional appearance
NPB: 1987 for the Yakult Swallows
MLB: June 18, 1988 for the St. Louis Cardinals
MLB statistics
Batting average     .277
Home runs     218
Runs batted in     685
NPB statistics
Batting average     .327
Home runs     31
Runs batted in     73
Teams
Career highlights and awards

James Robert "Bob" Horner (born August 6, 1957) is a former Major League Baseball third baseman/first baseman and right-handed batter who played for the Atlanta Braves (1978-1986) and St. Louis Cardinals (1988). Horner was hampered by assorted injuries for most of his major league career.

Horner was born in Junction City, Kansas but grew up in Glendale, Arizona attending Apollo high school in Glendale, Arizona where he set school records. His impressive college career at Arizona State University included the first ever Golden Spikes Award. A second baseman for TSN's College All-America team in 1977 and 1978, Horner set an NCAA record with 58 career home runs for Arizona State, set a 25-homer season record, and was selected the MVP of 1977 College World Series.

Horner was drafted by Atlanta in the 1st round (1st pick) of the 1978 amateur draft and made his debut in the same year. He is one of only a handful of players ever to go directly to the starting lineup in the major leagues without spending a day in the minor leagues. In his first game, he belted a home run off Bert Blyleven of the Pirates. In 89 games, Horner batted .266 with 23 home runs, 63 runs batted in in just 323 at bats, with an on-base percentage of .313 and a slugging percentage of .539. His 23 home runs led all National League third basemen in 1978. He won the National League Rookie of the Year honors over Ozzie Smith.

In his 1979 sophomore year Horner batted .314 with 33 homers and 98 RBI; In 1980, Horner batted .268, 35 HR, 89 RBI despite being sidelined for 79 games in both seasons after recurrent shoulder and legs injuries. In the strike-shortened 1981 season he hit .277, 15 HR, 42 RBI in 79 games. Horner enjoyed his best statistical season in 1982, finishing with 32 home runs, 97 RBI, and an OBP of .350, while slugging .501.

In August 1983, Horner was hitting .303 with 20 homers and a career-high OBP of .383, but he fractured his right wrist when he was sliding on a base, missing the last 43 games of that season. In May 1984, Horner again broke the same wrist while diving after a ball and was sidelined for the rest of the 1984 season.

Horner found a way to keep healthy in 1985. He played 130 games and finished with a .267 BA, 27 HR and 89 RBI. In 1986, Horner set personal highlights. On July 6, 1986 in a game against the Expos, he became the 11th player in Major League Baseball history to hit four home runs in a single game, and only the second one to do so in a game that his team lost (the first one being Ed Delahanty). Later in the season, after hitting a record 210 career home runs without a grand slam, Horner finally belted a homer with the bases loaded to give the Braves a 4-2 victory over the Pirates. Horner's record stood until 1998 when Sammy Sosa hit a grand slam, the 248th home run of his career, to surpass Horner's mark.

Horner became a free agent in 1987, but Major League clubs were colluding to not sign free agents and drive down salaries. Unable to find a Major League club interested in his services, Horner signed a one-year contract with the Yakult Swallows of the Japanese League. He hit 31 homers and had 73 RBIs for the team. He was given number 50 by the organization because that is how many home runs they expected him to hit.

Horner returned to the majors in 1988 to play with the Cardinals, but after 60 games, he injured his left shoulder. After being invited to the Baltimore Orioles for spring training, Horner at 31, announced his retirement.

In his 10-year Major League career, Horner batted .277 with 218 home runs, 685 RBIs, 560 runs, 1047 hits,169 doubles, 8 triples, 14 stolen bases, a .340 on base percentage, and .499 of slugging average in 1020 games.

On July 4, 2006, Horner was inducted into the College Baseball Hall of Fame as a member of its inaugural class.

See also

External links

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