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WS1968 Gm5: Horton gets Brock at the plate
WS1968 Gm5: Horton gets Brock at the plate
Published: 2013/12/02
Channel: MLB
Willie Horton at Tiger Stadium
Willie Horton at Tiger Stadium's final game
Published: 2014/10/07
Channel: KidFidrych
Willie Horton hosts baseball clinic
Willie Horton hosts baseball clinic
Published: 2012/08/28
Channel: WXYZ-TV Detroit | Channel 7
Emotional Willie Horton shares stories at Detroit PAL field dedication
Emotional Willie Horton shares stories at Detroit PAL field dedication
Published: 2016/04/15
Channel: WXYZ-TV Detroit | Channel 7
Willie Horton   Be Ready to Hit
Willie Horton Be Ready to Hit
Published: 2013/12/02
Channel: Baseball Pros Academy
Horton
Horton's '68 World Series throw reenacted in Detroit
Published: 2013/10/18
Channel: MLB
CWS@DET: Lemon on receiving Willie Horton award
CWS@DET: Lemon on receiving Willie Horton award
Published: 2016/06/05
Channel: MLB
TEX@CWS: Horton on being at Civil Rights Game
TEX@CWS: Horton on being at Civil Rights Game
Published: 2013/08/27
Channel: MLB
Willie Horton - Be Ready to Hit
Willie Horton - Be Ready to Hit
Published: 2012/02/01
Channel: Andy Barkett
NYY Willie Horton  -1985
NYY Willie Horton -1985
Published: 2016/10/01
Channel: Home Town Cable Network
News Item (e3b85655-fb56-fe74-5dd5-a8d41d2661ab)
News Item (e3b85655-fb56-fe74-5dd5-a8d41d2661ab)
Published: 2015/07/21
Channel: AP Archive
'From Glory Days' on PBS - Willie Horton
Published: 2012/09/28
Channel: 'From Glory Days' TV Show
Willie Horton remembers the Detroit Riots
Willie Horton remembers the Detroit Riots
Published: 2007/04/29
Channel: Mike Wendland
Willie Horton interview
Willie Horton interview
Published: 2014/03/04
Channel: Andrell Williams
Willie Horton (2012) Remembers Detroit Tigers Part 1
Willie Horton (2012) Remembers Detroit Tigers Part 1
Published: 2012/11/24
Channel: brampete
Steve Hamilton
Steve Hamilton's Folly Floater
Published: 2010/07/19
Channel: Frank Russo
tigers twins brawl 5
tigers twins brawl 5
Published: 2014/07/28
Channel: Jeremy Allen
Willie Horton accepts Beacon of Change Award
Willie Horton accepts Beacon of Change Award
Published: 2013/08/27
Channel: MLB
Detroit 2020/Willie Horton
Detroit 2020/Willie Horton
Published: 2012/10/24
Channel: WXYZ-TV Detroit | Channel 7
CWS@DET: Lemon receives Willie Horton legacy award
CWS@DET: Lemon receives Willie Horton legacy award
Published: 2016/06/05
Channel: MLB
Josh Hamilton
Josh Hamilton's Testimony - "Homeplate" Event at Comerica Park
Published: 2012/04/23
Channel: jag64551
2013 Detroit Tigers Home Opener (April 5, 2013)
2013 Detroit Tigers Home Opener (April 5, 2013)
Published: 2013/04/07
Channel: allendale101
Interview with Willie Horton
Interview with Willie Horton
Published: 2008/05/31
Channel: darron4310
Willie Horton Batting For Kids 2014 FOX2
Willie Horton Batting For Kids 2014 FOX2
Published: 2014/08/05
Channel: Tiffanie Elise
willie horton interview
willie horton interview
Published: 2009/05/19
Channel: jtdriver1
The Willie Horton Foundation
The Willie Horton Foundation
Published: 2017/05/22
Channel: Stephen Clanton
Mitchell and Ness MLB Deuce in Effect Vol.16 Mariners Edition
Mitchell and Ness MLB Deuce in Effect Vol.16 Mariners Edition
Published: 2010/09/16
Channel: Jul2B
Detroit Tigers before opening day, 1963 Vintage
Detroit Tigers before opening day, 1963 Vintage
Published: 2011/05/21
Channel: Art Witkowski
Tigers Pregame 9.9.15: Willie Horton
Tigers Pregame 9.9.15: Willie Horton
Published: 2015/09/10
Channel: FOX SportsDetroit
Willie Horton speaks from the heart at the old Tigers Stadium development groundbreaking named after
Willie Horton speaks from the heart at the old Tigers Stadium development groundbreaking named after
Published: 2016/04/13
Channel: MLive
Remembering the olden days
Remembering the olden days
Published: 2010/03/02
Channel: The Detroit News
Willie Horton Honored for Military Support
Willie Horton Honored for Military Support
Published: 2011/11/14
Channel: DailyWorldwideNews
Detroit Tigers at Fantasy Camp Video 3
Detroit Tigers at Fantasy Camp Video 3
Published: 2014/01/30
Channel: ThePresidentMichael
MLBPAA - Willie Horton and Darrell Evans
MLBPAA - Willie Horton and Darrell Evans
Published: 2008/10/22
Channel: Kelfam48230
Tiger Stadium Fantasies (Horton
Tiger Stadium Fantasies (Horton's Throw Plus)
Published: 2013/10/19
Channel: allendale101
Willie Horton - Detroit Is Happening - City Of Detroit
Willie Horton - Detroit Is Happening - City Of Detroit
Published: 2016/07/20
Channel: John Manship Rare Soul
OBM - Baseball Player - Willie Horton
OBM - Baseball Player - Willie Horton
Published: 2016/10/05
Channel: Our Best Moments
Pro wrestling talk with Detroit Tigers legend Willie Horton
Pro wrestling talk with Detroit Tigers legend Willie Horton
Published: 2012/02/16
Channel: jim varsallone (jimmyv3 channel)
2010 Detroit Public School Varsity Baseball game interviews
2010 Detroit Public School Varsity Baseball game interviews
Published: 2010/05/31
Channel: innercitysports
Seattle Mariners - The Early Days
Seattle Mariners - The Early Days
Published: 2007/09/14
Channel: baseballbard
2/4/2017 Detroit Tigers Fantasy Camp Game #2 Willie Horton
2/4/2017 Detroit Tigers Fantasy Camp Game #2 Willie Horton
Published: 2017/02/11
Channel: ThePresidentMichael
UAW-Ford “Field of Dreams”
UAW-Ford “Field of Dreams”
Published: 2014/06/20
Channel: UAWFordDepartment
Willie Horton - Detroit Is Happening - City Of Detroit: 1900
Willie Horton - Detroit Is Happening - City Of Detroit: 1900
Published: 2017/03/31
Channel: John Manship Rare Soul
Willie Horton (2012) Remembers Detroit Tigers Pt.2
Willie Horton (2012) Remembers Detroit Tigers Pt.2
Published: 2012/11/25
Channel: brampete
Guest speakers attend the Beacon Awards Luncheon
Guest speakers attend the Beacon Awards Luncheon
Published: 2013/08/27
Channel: MLB
Willie Horton, Jim Leyland and Frank Tanana reflect on Ernie Harwell
Willie Horton, Jim Leyland and Frank Tanana reflect on Ernie Harwell
Published: 2010/05/12
Channel: maxcareyhof
Lou Brock Is Still Out!
Lou Brock Is Still Out!
Published: 2013/10/17
Channel: KidFidrych
Ernie Harwell Comerica Park Flag Raising Ceremony
Ernie Harwell Comerica Park Flag Raising Ceremony
Published: 2010/05/13
Channel: maxcareyhof
Detroit Tigers Fantasy Camp / Shot Heard Round Detroit 1of2
Detroit Tigers Fantasy Camp / Shot Heard Round Detroit 1of2
Published: 2008/07/10
Channel: Paul Barker
Talkin
Talkin' Baseball ~ Willie, Mickey and the Duke ~ Terry Cashman
Published: 2014/02/27
Channel: Cary Buffington
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WIKIPEDIA ARTICLE

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Willie Horton
Willie Horton 2010.jpeg
Horton with the Detroit Tigers in 2010
Left fielder / Designated hitter
Born: (1942-10-18) October 18, 1942 (age 74)
Arno, Virginia
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 10, 1963, for the Detroit Tigers
Last MLB appearance
October 5, 1980, for the Seattle Mariners
MLB statistics
Batting average .273
Home runs 325
Runs batted in 1,163
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Willie Wattison Horton (born October 18, 1942) is a former left fielder and designated hitter in Major League Baseball who played for six American League teams, primarily the Detroit Tigers. He hit 20 or more home runs seven times, and his 325 career home runs ranked sixth among AL right-handed hitters when he retired. He enjoyed his best season in 1968 with the world champion Tigers, finishing second in the AL with 36 homers, a .543 slugging average and 278 total bases. In the later years of his career, he was twice named the AL's top designated hitter.

Early years[edit]

Horton is the youngest of twenty-one children of James Horton and his wife Lillian (Wattison) Horton. He was born in Arno, Virginia, a small community in the corporate limits of Appalachia.[1] Willie Horton hit a home run at Tiger Stadium when he was 16 years old during an all-city high school game. After winning a city championship with Detroit Northwestern High School in 1959, he signed with the Tigers in 1961, playing for the Tigers' farm team, the Duluth Dukes, on the shores of Lake Superior, and made his debut with the Tigers on September 10, 1963. He had a pinch-hit home run off Robin Roberts in his second at bat.

Detroit Tigers[edit]

He saw limited playing time in his first two years before a 1965 rookie campaign in which he was second in the AL with 104 runs batted in (RBIs) and third with 29 home runs. He was named to the All-Star team, and placed eighth in the MVP balloting. Becoming known for his tremendous strength, often hitting home runs with a one-handed swing, he again collected 100 RBIs in the 1966 season. During the 1967 Detroit 12th Street riot, he tried bravely to restore peace. He stood in his Tiger uniform on a car in the middle of the chaos, pleading for calm.[citation needed] However, despite his impassioned pleas, the city burned for five more days.[2]

Horton posted double-digit home run totals in 12 regular seasons from 1965–76, and hit two home runs in a game on 30 occasions. He had a career-high 36 HRs in 1968, a pitcher's year in which Detroit won the World Series; he finished second in the AL to Frank Howard in homers, slugging and total bases. In a year in which the league batting average was .230 and Carl Yastrzemski won the batting title with a .301 mark, Horton's .285 average was good for fourth in the AL, and he finished fourth in the MVP voting.

He also batted .304 in the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals. In order to combine Horton's offensive power with a good defense, manager Mayo Smith moved regular center fielder Mickey Stanley to shortstop as a replacement for Ray Oyler, who was benched because of his paltry .135 batting average. He kept Al Kaline, a multiple Gold Glove Award winner, in right field and put Jim Northrup in center field; the two had platooned in right field for much of the year. When the Tigers were safely[clarification needed] ahead, Oyler would replace Stanley at shortstop, batting in Horton's lineup spot; Stanley returned to center field, and Northrup would move over to replace Horton in left field. In Game 2, Horton had a solo home run to give the Tigers an early 1–0 lead, and they won 8–1. While not considered a great defensive outfielder, he made a pivotal play in the fifth inning of Game 5. With the Cardinals leading the Series 3–1 and the game 3–2, Lou Brock doubled with one out, and tried to score on Julián Javier's single; but he chose not to slide, and Horton's throw reached catcher Bill Freehan on the fly to beat Brock on a close play. Horton still lists the throw as the most memorable moment of his career.[2] Detroit scored three runs in the seventh inning to win 5–3, and went on to win Games 6 and 7 as well; Horton had two runs and two RBI in the 13–1 blowout in Game 6, and two hits and a run in the final 4–1 victory.

Horton was a four-time member of the AL All-Star team (1965, 1968, 1970 and 1973). He hit three home runs against the Milwaukee Brewers on June 9, 1970. On April 14, 1974, he hit a popup which struck and killed a pigeon at Fenway Park. He was named the AL's Outstanding Designated Hitter in 1975 after hitting 25 home runs with 92 RBIs. On July 18, 1969, playing against the Cleveland Indians, he tied Boston Braves outfielder Earl Clark's record for most put outs in a nine inning game by a left fielder, nine, a record that has since been tied by Jacoby Ellsbury of the Boston Red Sox.

Texas Rangers[edit]

Early in the 1977 season he was traded to the Texas Rangers, and he again hit three home runs on May 15 against the Kansas City Royals at Royals Stadium. He spent 1978 playing for the Cleveland Indians, Oakland Athletics and Toronto Blue Jays, before finally settling with the Seattle Mariners from 1979–80.

Seattle Mariners[edit]

In 1979 with the Mariners he was again named the AL's Outstanding Designated Hitter after hitting .279 with 29 HRs and a career-high 106 RBIs, and he received The Sporting News Comeback Player of the Year Award as well. On June 5, against the Tigers he hit what seemed to be his 300th career home run, but it struck a speaker hanging from the roof of the Kingdome and bounced onto the field for a single; he would collect number 300 the next day against Jack Morris. His Mariners record of 106 RBIs was broken by Alvin Davis in 1984, his marks of 180 hits and 296 total bases were broken by Phil Bradley in 1985, and his record of 29 home runs was broken by Gorman Thomas in 1985. His record of 646 at bats was broken by Alex Rodriguez in 1998; Horton remains one of only four Mariners to have played the full 162 games in a season. He played his final major league game on October 5, 1980.

Retirement[edit]

23 DET.png
Willie Horton's number 23 was retired by the Detroit Tigers in 2000.

In an 18-season career, Horton posted a .273 batting average and .457 slugging average with 1993 hits, 284 doubles, 1,163 RBIs, 873 runs and 20 stolen bases in 2028 games. His 325 home runs in the AL placed him behind only Harmon Killebrew (573), Jimmie Foxx (524), teammate Al Kaline (399), Rocky Colavito (371) and Joe DiMaggio (361) among right-handed hitters.

Horton played two more years in the Pacific Coast League and another season in Mexican baseball. In 1978, he became the manager of Venezuelan team Navegantes del Magallanes, whom he had guided to the Championship of 1979 Caribbean Series with a 5–1 record. Among his baseball superstitions was his use of the same batting helmet throughout his career; he repainted it when he changed teams.[citation needed] After retiring, he coached for the New York Yankees and Chicago White Sox. On July 15, 2000 Horton became just the sixth former player given the ultimate honor by the Detroit Tigers; a statue of Horton was placed in Comerica Park and his number 23 was retired, joining a select group that includes former Tigers players Ty Cobb (who did not wear a number), Charlie Gehringer (number 2), Hank Greenberg (number 5), Al Kaline (number 6), and Hal Newhouser (number 16). While Horton's career body of work was solid and workmanlike, it was not quite of the same caliber as that of his Tiger brethren enshrined in Cooperstown;[citation needed] nevertheless, the statue is a testament to the crucial role he played in restoring peace and quelling eruptions during the 1967 riot, and to this day endures as an important symbol of peace and harmony in a hardscrabble city often beset by racial tension.[citation needed]

Since 2003, Horton has served as a Special Assistant to Tigers President/CEO/General Manager, originally Dave Dombrowski, and now Al Avila. Former Tigers teammate Al Kaline also holds this position, and the two threw out the first pitch of the 2006 World Series at Comerica Park.

For the ninth consecutive year, the state of Michigan recognized one man's ability to overcome obstacles and achieve a lifetime of success when "Willie Horton Day" was celebrated on Thursday, October 18, 2012. Horton is the fourth person in Michigan history to be given a day, with the third being Rosa Parks.

On Opening Day 2013, Horton threw out the first pitch at Comerica Park in Detroit. The Tigers went on to win 8–3 over the New York Yankees.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Willie Horton Stats". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved February 25, 2013. 
  2. ^ a b Schweitzer, Karen. "Where are they now – Willie Horton." Article at BaseballSavvy.com on May 25, 2005. [1]

External links[edit]

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