Bob Horner Visits Hall of Fame
You never know who’s going to show up in Cooperstown. Today, it was part of my childhood.
Bob Horner, who played 10 big league seasons with the Braves and Cardinals between 1978 and 1988, visited the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum on Wednesday with his wife Chris.
When the call came that Horner was arriving, I immediately flashed back to the day big league baseball became real for me: Sept. 3, 1978 – my first time at an MLB game.
I was nine, and my father took me to Three Rivers Stadium in Pittsburgh to see the Pirates play the Braves on a Sunday afternoon. Horner was the No. 1 overall pick in the June draft that year, and Horner was so good that he went straight from Arizona State to the majors – debuting with the Braves just 10 days after he was drafted.
I can remember debating with my dad about whether Horner might need minor league seasoning. Turns out, he didn’t – Horner hit 23 home runs that year in 89 games, quickly establishing himself as one of the game’s top young third basemen en route to winning the National League Rookie of the Year Award.
Eight years later, Horner tied a record that still stands. On July 6, 1986, Horner hit four home runs in one game for the Braves against the Montreal Expos. He later donated the bat he used for the first three of those home runs to the Hall of Fame (it broke before he could hit his fourth), and on Wednesday he got to hold it again.
Horner is one of only 16 players to ever hit four home runs in a big league game.
Horner got a tour of the archive Wednesday, and expressed genuine wonder while looking at a ball used during the 1927 World Series.
“Incredible… really incredible,” said Horner.
Horner and his wife now live in Dallas, and were passing through Central New York while on a family visit.
“We always try to stop when we’re here,” Horner said. “The history here is amazing.”
For me, it was living history – my own.
Craig Muder is the director of communications for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum