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Joel Horlen
Born: August 14, 1937 (1937-08-14) (age 72)
San Antonio, Texas
Batted: Right Threw: Right 
MLB debut
September 4, 1961 for the Chicago White Sox
Last MLB appearance
October 4, 1972 for the Oakland Athletics
Career statistics
Win-Loss     116-117
ERA     3.11
Strikeouts     1065
Career highlights and awards
  • No-hitter on September 10, 1967
  • All-Star in 1967
  • Led AL in ERA in 1967 with 2.06
  • Led AL in shutouts 1967 with 6
  • Member of Oakland Athletics team that won the 1972 World Series

Joel Edward Horlen (born August 14, 1937, in San Antonio, Texas) is a right-handed former Major League Baseball pitcher. Horlen pitched for the Chicago White Sox from 1961 to 1971, and the Oakland Athletics in 1972.

In his career, Horlen won 116 games against 117 losses, with a 3.11 earned run average and 1,065 strikeouts in 2,002 innings pitched.

He is the only baseball player to play for teams that won a Pony League World Series (1952), a College World Series (Oklahoma State-1959), and a Major League World Series (Oakland-1972).[1]



Horlen was a star pitcher at Oklahoma State University. He was named to the American Baseball Coaches Association All-America second team, as he helped lead Oklahoma State to the College World Series in 1959.

Major league career


Chicago White Sox (1961-71)

Horlen was signed by the Chicago White Sox in 1959.

He made his Major League debut against the Minnesota Twins in the second game of a September 4, 1961 doubleheader. He won the game in relief while wearing a numberless uniform —- as the only available road uniform did not have a number.

Horlen pitched as a spot starter in his first two full seasons with the White Sox.

In 1964 he earned a spot in the starting rotation, posting a 13-9 record and setting career bests in earned run average (1.88; 2nd in the American League only to Dean Chance's 1.65) and strikeouts (138). He also led the majors by allowing only 6.07 hits per 9 innings, bettering Sandy Koufax's National League-leading 6.22. In the next 42 years, only 8 right-handed pitchers bettered that ratio in a season. He also led the AL in Walks + Hits per IP (WHIP) (.935).

That year his White Sox battled the New York Yankees and Baltimore Orioles for the pennant, but finished second, one game behind the Yankees and one game ahead of the Orioles.

In 1965 he was 2nd in the league in shutouts (4), and was 3rd in walks/9 IP (1.60). In 1966 he led the league in wild pitches (14), was 6th in hit batsmen (6), and was 2nd in ERA (2.43).

Horlen’s best season was in 1967; he finished 19-7 and led American League pitchers with a 2.06 ERA and 6 shutouts, was 2nd in W-L percentage (.731), 4th in wins, complete games (13), and walks/9 IP (2.02), and 7th in innings pitched (258). He also led the AL in Walks + Hits per IP (WHIP) (.953). He was named to the American League All-Star team for the only time in his career, but did not pitch in the game. The highlight of Horlen’s season was a clutch performance on September 10 as the White Sox were involved in a four-way pennant race with the Twins, Boston Red Sox, and Detroit Tigers; he no-hit the Tigers in the first game of a doubleheader at Comiskey Park. The no-hitter was one of eight thrown by a Jewish pitcher, and the only one by a Jewish right-hander, in a decade spanning from 1962 through 1971. The others: Bo Belinsky - 1962; Sandy Koufax - 1962, 1963, 1964, and 1965; and Ken Holtzman - 1969 and 1971. Not until Mark Buehrle in 2007 would another no-hitter be pitched by a White Sox in a White Sox home game.

Horlen recorded victories in his next three starts, the next one coming five days later against the Twins. However, on September 27, which would be known by White Sox fans as “Black Wednesday,” the lowly Kansas City Athletics swept a doubleheader from the White Sox and effectively eliminated Eddie Stanky's "Hitless Wonders" (as the team was known because no regular batted above .250) from pennant contention. Horlen lost the second game, with 21-year-old Catfish Hunter shutting out the White Sox 4-0. On an interesting note, the two games were the last played by the Athletics in Kansas City; they would move to Oakland for the start of the 1968 season. The White Sox finished fourth, three games behind the Red Sox who, after finishing next to last in 1966, won the pennant on the final day, finishing one game ahead of the Twins and Tigers.

Horlen finished runner-up to Jim Lonborg, the star of the Red Sox staff, in the American League Cy Young Award balloting, and 4th in MVP voting.

In 1968 he led the AL in hit batsmen (14). In 1970 he was 5th in walks/9 IP (2.14).

In spring training of 1972, two weeks after voting unanimously in favor of a strike, the White Sox released Horlen, who had been the Sox’ player representative.

Oakland Athletics (1972)

He later signed with Oakland, and pitched mostly in relief as the Athletics won the World Series — the first in franchise history since 1930.

After the major leagues

In 1989, Horlen played for the St. Lucie Legends of the Senior Professional Baseball Association.[2]

Personal life

Horlen is a convert to Judaism.[1][2]

Horlen is also known for chewing Kleenex.


  1. ^
  2. ^ The Big Book of Jewish Sports People by Peter Horvitz page 53

See also

External links

Preceded by
Gary Peters
American League ERA Champion
Succeeded by
Luis Tiant


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