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It Wasn't an Easy Decision for Horner

March 11, 1989|JIM HENNEMAN | The Baltimore Evening Sun

"He was one of those hitters who was just unusual," Murphy said. "He would come to spring training and his swing would be there. He wouldn't need any time. He had the swing - short and quick, and he had a good eye. Had it not been for injuries he would really have put some big numbers on the board. As far as I'm concerned he'll always be one of the best power hitters. I feel bad for him."

Horner, although acknowledging that injuries have made his career "weird," refused to feel sorry for himself. "All you can do is play the hand that's dealt you," he said.

Horner stepped off the campus of Arizona State, where he originally hurt his shoulder and underwent surgery for the first time, and into the Braves' lineup in 1978. He would never spend a day in the minor leagues. By the age of 29, and despite wrist and shoulder injuries that plagued him throughout his career, he had reached 200 homers. Neither Ted Williams nor Mike Schmidt had hit that many at the same age.

Now, at the age of 31, his career has evidently come to an end--in the batting cage along the right-field line in Miami's Bobby Maduro Stadium.

The pitching machine and his left shoulder came up empty at just about the same time.

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