“I don’t think there’s any play in baseball that excites more than someone really making a long home run. It’s one of the two best feelings a man can have.” – Sam Horn1
The beauty of his lefty swing had scouts swooning, epitomizing lethal power. At 6-feet-5, 215 pounds2, he seemed to tower over the entirety of the diamond. When a pitch came barreling towards him, fans imagined he would connect with such force that gravity would lose and the ball would never come down. Expectations were enormous for “The Big Dawg3,” Samuel Lee Horn.
Horn did hit 62 homers in the majors from 1987 through 1995, with a single-season high of 23 in 1991. However, he didn’t fully live up to the hopes that many had for him, largely because he was a defensive liability at his position of first base. Horn developed into the prototype designated hitter, a one-dimensional option off the bench. Ed Nottle, who managed Horn in the minors, was skeptical of Horn’s fielding abilities: “Sam is not an agile performer. People told me to hit him a million ground balls. We did. He’s been playing first base since he was seven years old. Why should he get any better at 23?”4 There was no breathtaking journey from defensive liability to Gold Glover. It was all about his bat and the enormous power it could wield if harnessed.
Nonetheless, what stands out about this man is his genuine smile. The smile is energetic and charismatic. The smile makes you feel that Sam Horn cares about you, which he does. “The fans felt the love that I gave them,” Horn said. “I recall talking to the peanut guy out in front and he said, ‘Sam, you’re the only player that I’ve known to come out before the game and sign autographs and [then] sign autographs after the game.’”5 Horn’s generosity of spirit is visible in his personal post-baseball mission to “build an individual’s confidence in their abilities, teach them to recognize and minimize their weaknesses, while helping them get the maximum results out of his or her potential.”6
On Saturday, November 2, 1963, Horn was born in Dallas, Texas. He was the first child of Sammie and Velma Lee Horn.7 When he was five, his parents moved the family to San Diego. His mother’s brother worked for San Diego Metropolitan Transit, telling her of job opportunities in construction. “I don’t recall much about Dallas,” Horn said, “but I thought the area where I lived was cool because my neighbor had a horse.”8
He grew up in San Diego with his two younger sisters, Connie and Bonita, who were track and field athletes. His father worked in construction and later in life started his own business as a repairman.9 His mother was a caregiver in assisted living and volunteered with her church.
Baseball was young Sam’s passion.10 His father was not into sports, but his mother was influential: “Mom wanted to be a team mother and I wanted her to be proud. She went to every game and I was proud of her, her support, and show of love to me.”11
Horn attended Samuel F.B. Morse High School, which had a well-regarded baseball program –but he was strong academically too, graduating with a 3.4 grade point average.12 In his junior year, Horn attracted notice for his size and power at the plate. He was selected to the 1982 All-California Interscholastic Federation’s first team at first base.13 His favorite players were Dave Winfield and Dave Parker because they were “big guys, 6’6” like me, who could hit with power and run.”14 For Horn, San Diego was “the perfect place to live and have an opportunity to play sports all year round. It was a melting pot with the ability to socialize with so many kinds of people. And the weather was great.”15
Horn was the first selection of the Boston Red Sox in the 1982 draft (16th overall). At school, his principal actually sent for him to come to the office and gave him the news.16 Horn was offered a scholarship to play baseball and football from the University of Southern California. “But once the deal with Boston came along, I couldn’t refuse pro baseball.”17
Horn was sent to the Elmira Suns of the short-season NY-Penn League. He homered in his first professional game and went on to hit .301 with 11 homers and 48 RBIs in 61 games. He made no secret of his intentions: “I plan to take Carl Yastrzemski’s place at first base for the Boston Red Sox in three years.”18 “The personable fence-buster” was named to the league all-star team and honored with the Bob Stedler Award during the last game of the season.19 Horn was humbled: “I was lost for words… I won’t let the people down here in Elmira or in Boston.”20
Elmira had a deep impact on Horn. It “taught me to be myself. I was alone away from home for the first time. As a bonus baby, the pressure on me was immense and having to live up to the hype was daunting. I was scared to be a failure and my focus was airtight. There was little to do in Elmira. I focused on baseball and getting better, and this helped me to have a great start to my career.”21
After being promoted to Class-A Winston Salem, torn wrist ligaments kept him out of the lineup for six weeks during the 1983 season.22 His manager, Bill Slack, saw the 19-year-old as “the most awesome talent I’ve seen in all my years in the organization, but I wasn’t prepared for the type of the individual he is.”23 Horn himself predicted, “I plan to be in the big leagues – hopefully Boston – by 1985.”24 A healthy Horn showed his power at Winton-Salem in 1984 with 21 homers and 89 RBIs.25 However, his defensive liabilities (29 errors at first base) were hard to ignore.
The following spring, Horn caught the attention of Ted Williams, who proclaimed, “He has so much going for him…he will be an absolutely tremendous power hitter.”26 At Double-A New Britain for the 1985 season, Horn worked to be recognized as a complete player. He lowered his error total playing first to 23. The bat and the power, though, were special.27 At a reception for the players, a writer asked Horn what he did for the team. “I dent cars,” Horn answered.28 He later elaborated, “because I hit big flies that landed beyond the playing field, fans began to park their cars far away from the stadium when we played.”29
Disappointed that he was not on the 1986 Red Sox roster, Horn experienced a poor spring training and was sent back to New Britain (he also played briefly at Triple-A Pawtucket). He endured his worst season.30 His indifference troubled teammate Ellis Burks: “In New Britain, it would be like everybody would be stretching, and Sam would be in the back lying around.”31
Horn dedicated himself to success in 1987, and family matters influenced his maturation. He had met his future wife, Debra, in 1983 at a softball game in San Diego when he “kissed her hand and asked her to go for a ride in his white Cadillac.”32 Prior to spring training in 1987, to the shock of his friends who though he would never settle down, he married Debra. They were going to be parents. By then 23 and at a crossroads, Horn knew it was time for him to grow up: “I’ve got a new truck, a new wife and a new kid on the way.”33
Indeed, a transformation resulted, with additional help from Ted Williams, who worked again with Horn after Boston went north to start the 1987 season, altering the way he gripped a bat and shortening his stance.34 Williams’ influence went beyond baseball: “Ted became my friend helping me become better. Awesome person. Ted would refer to me as ‘My friend from San Diego’ and [say that] all the best hitters [notably Williams himself] came from San Diego. Made me feel great.”35
A changed Horn was a force at Pawtucket, batting .376 with 11 homers by May 19.36 His outgoing personality made him an icon to the Pawtucket faithful. When Bill Buckner was released by Boston on July 23, Horn was called up. “I just hope God blesses me to take advantage of the opportunity,” he said.37
Serving as the DH, Horn became the sixth Red Sox player to homer in his major-league debut, on July 25 versus Seattle. His tie-breaking two-run shot off Stan Clarke in the fifth inning flew into the netting atop the Green Monster. The next day he followed with three hits and another homer, making him the fourth player to homer in his first two major-league games.38 In his fifth major-league game, Horn hit his third home run, a towering 450-foot two-run blast off José Núñez in a victory over Toronto that landed “on the football field of the Toronto Argonauts, around the 10-yard line.”39
Horn launched five homers in his first nine games, and after adding another with five RBIs in his 12th game, he had started his career with five doubles, 16 RBIs, and 16 runs scored to go with his six homers. “I just try to wait and see the ball, then explode,” he said.40 Although Horn inevitably cooled off a bit, he still clubbed 10 homers in his first 31 games. He set a major-league record for the most home runs by a player who played in 50 or fewer games, with 14.41 “The fans felt the love I gave them,” Horn remembered.42
On New Year’s Day 1988, the Horns became parents with the birth of their daughter Briona. Over the following two seasons, however, he played just intermittently in the majors, and his 1987 performance faded into a distant memory. John McNamara, who managed Boston through mid-1988, doubted his versatility. “Whether I play first base remains to be seen,” said Horn.43 He announced he would fight any demotion to the minors: “I just want a place in the big leagues, whether it’s first base, sitting down or DHing.”44
Horn did make the 1988 Opening Day roster, but through early June, he hit merely .148 with two home runs in 61 at-bats. He said, “[W]hatever capacity they like to use me, I’m happy with that.”45 He was optioned to Pawtucket, where he remained.46 “It might be a way for him to get his swing back,” McNamara said.47
After a strenuous offseason of conditioning through basketball and racquetball, Horn arrived at spring training 20 pounds lighter, ready to play in 1989. He asked new manager Joe Morgan, “[W]hat do I have to make the team?” Morgan spared no words: “[H]it a ton.”48 Horn convinced Morgan he could play a role: spell Jim Rice at DH and pinch-hit. Horn struggled but observed, “I am accepting it because I know the situation.”49 On May 29, he broke an 0-for-26 slump with a single in a 3-0 loss to California. The Fenway Park fans erupted into a loud derisive ovation. A beat writer sarcastically observed, “[Y]ou half-expected the umpires to halt play so Sam could call for the ball.”50 The lack of production earned Horn a return to Pawtucket. 51
When recalled in September, Horn directed all inquiries about his future to Morgan, who tartly noted, “I don’t want to talk about Sam Horn next year yet, because this isn’t next year.”52 Horn stated flatly, “They’re either going keep me or they’re not going to keep me.”53 Yet he knew his time in Boston was over.
Boston did not offer Horn a 1990 contract. After hitting 44 homers with Boston and Pawtucket in 1987, the power numbers never returned. Almost exclusively a DH, in his first three seasons, he only played four innings at first base.
Baltimore signed Horn to a minor-league deal on February 20, 1990, with no guarantees. Horn said he “sensed this spring was about his last chance.”54 Performing well in camp and with a lockout concluded, Horn was invited to the major-league camp, impressing manager Frank Robinson with his focus. Robinson sought to keep the slugger from pressing. He said, “I don’t want Sam Horn to go up there every time looking for a home run.”55
Horn earned a spot on the roster, observing, “I embrace the opportunity … I want to dedicate the season to my mom,” who had suffered a mild stroke prior to Opening Day.56 In his first game as an Oriole, April 9, 1990, at Kansas City, Horn smacked a pair of three-run homers among his four hits, leading to a 7-6 Baltimore win in 11 innings. His six RBIs set a Baltimore Opening Day record.57 Before the game, he told his mother he “loved her and that I was going to play and put forth my best effort on every pitch.”58 After the game, Horn said, “[T]his was the first chance for me to do something for her … I just hope she gets to see the highlights.”59
Horn sprained his right shoulder and was sent to Rochester for rehabilitation after the Orioles designated him for assignment on June 3 and he went through waivers unclaimed.60 Though he felt he was not given much of chance to prove himself, Horn accepted his assignment to the minors. During this period, Debra gave birth to a second child, their son Jamale.61
Horn tore into International League pitching, batting .414 in 17 games with nine homers and 26 RBIs. “I don’t want to be here,” he said.62 Horn was recalled in early July; in 246 total at-bats for the Orioles, he belted 14 homers with 45 RBIs.
Robinson ordered Horn to report in 1991 in great condition. He achieved his greatest success that season, hitting 23 homers and driving in 61 runs in 121 games.63 Horn saw Robinson as “a great leader. He backed you if you wanted to be led. He gave me a chance to thrive.”64
The game of July 17, 1991, at Kansas City saw Baltimore jump to a 7-0 lead before imploding and losing in 15 innings, 9-8. The Orioles were a woeful 36-51.65 During this sultry Missouri evening, in eight plate appearances, Horn hit his 12th double, walked, scored twice. However, he also struck out six times – which tied a major-league record. Teammate Mike Flanagan saw humor in the futility: “Three strikeouts is a hat trick, four is a sombrero, five is a golden sombrero and from now on, six will be known as a Horn. Seven will be a Horn-A-Plenty.”66 Horn found nothing redeeming in the game: “It was just a [expletive] night all around.”67
Avoiding arbitration, Horn tripled his salary in a one-year deal for 1992 at $687,500. He expected at least 350 at-bats, despite admitting, “I know that I’m not a good, maybe not even an adequate first baseman.”68 Unfortunately, his production at the plate dropped off in 1992.69 With the team in contention, Johnny Oates (who had succeeded Robinson as manager about one-quarter of the way through the season) needed more than homers and strikeouts. Oates noted, “Sam’s got to hit home runs [to be effective], but there are situations where [we] need more contact.”70 When Camden Yards opened in 1992, the warehouse behind the right-field stands (480 feet from home plate) became a tempting target. Many observers thought that Horn would be the first to hit it. Instead, he scored the first run.71
At the end of the season, the Orioles granted Horn free agency, even though he had become a Baltimore fan favorite. During his time in Baltimore, Horn became friends with Cal Ripken, stating, “Cal was one of the best teammates. Mr. Baltimore Oriole, who treated everybody like family. A kind man.”72
For the next several years, Horn bounced around in the minor leagues; he played a total of 23 more major-league games. Signing a minor-league contract with Cleveland, he spent the 1993 season with the Triple-A Charlotte Knights. By one description, he was “a small mountain in double-knits…[as he] grind[s] his left foot into the dirt in the back of the batter’s box and waggles his bat, you can feel the expectations.”73 Horn hit .269 with a league-leading 38 homers and had 96 RBIs. On September 15, Horn’s homer in the third inning of Game Five helped Charlotte win the Governors’ Cup finals over the Rochester Red Wings.74
Recalled on September 17, Horn hit .455 with four homers and eight RBIs in 12 games with the Indians. That included his fourth and final two-homer game in the majors, on September 19. But the Indians organization was loaded with young talent, and he was released on December 13.75
The New York Yankees signed Horn to a minor-league contract for 1994.76 Asked what Horn needed to achieve to make the opening day roster, manager Buck Showalter said, “[S]how us he can play defense adequately.”77 Horn was sent to Triple-A Columbus Clippers, but the organization released him on June 23.
Horn played baseball in three countries in 1995. Pittsburgh signed him to a minor-league deal on January 26 “as a replacement player with the possibility he could make the major league roster.”78 When the players’ strike ended, Horn was sent to the Pirates’ Triple-A affiliate in Calgary. He was productive as the Cannons’ DH, hitting .333 with eight homers in 36 games. Calgary “loaned” him to the Mexico City Diablos Rojos of the Mexican League to get more playing time, but subsequently released him. Horn signed a minor-league contract with Texas, who sent him to the Oklahoma City 89ers. He immediately supplied a jolt, hitting 12 homers and knocking in 42 with a .308 average.
Horn was recalled by Texas on September 1 to offer power off the bench for manager Johnny Oates, who had come over from Baltimore in October 1994. As it developed, he got just 10 pinch-hitting appearances with one single. In Seattle on September 20, the Mariners defeated Texas 11-3. With the bases loaded and no outs, Oates summoned Horn to bat for Benji Gil in the top of the ninth. Horn struck out swinging on four pitches for the first out of the inning.79 It was his last major-league appearance. Texas granted Horn free agency on October 16.
In 1996, Horn returned to the Mexican League with the Algodoneros de Unión Laguna (based in Torreón). He led the league in homers with 30. He also played briefly (a 14-game stint) that year with the Tennessee Tomahawks of the independent Big South League.80
In 1997 and 1998, Horn played for the Taipei Gida of the Taiwan Major League.81 He set the league record for most homers with 31 while posting a .313 average, helping his team to reach the 1997 league championship finals, which the Gida lost to Chiayi-Tainan Luka. Of his experience in Taiwan, Horn recalled, “there were language and culture barriers. It was hard to fit in, but I got to play the game.”82
Horn retired in 1999 but returned to baseball with the Nashua Pride of the independent Atlantic League for the 2000 and 2001 seasons. He had been running his baseball hitting school in Birmingham, Alabama, but admitted that he “[had] an itch to play.”83 Signing with Nashua on June 8, in his first game Horn took an 0-1 slider deep in his second at-bat, hitting a 375-foot homer over the right-field billboards onto the nearby railroad tracks.84
Following that blow, Horn started off poorly, but then erupted with six homers and 14 RBIs in 37 at-bats. Manager Butch Hobson said, “He’s finally got his timing down.”85 Horn experienced the joy of Nashua winning the Atlantic League Championship in a 3-0 sweep of the Somerset Patriots. In the game that decided the championship, he contributed a third-inning game-tying two-run double off the center field wall.86
An injury-plagued 2001 season told Horn the end was near. After homering to send the Nashua-Somerset game on August 15 into extra innings, he suddenly announced his retirement because of a business opportunity in Rhode Island real estate.87 Although Nashua “was rewarding and the mentoring was positive,”88 the majors never called him back. Horn said, “I had to picture the moment after baseball.”89
In a major-league career of 389 games, Horn played first base just 12 times. He also faced lefty pitching in less than 10% of his plate appearances. Nonetheless, he showed a flair for the dramatic, homering in his first professional at-bat with Elmira, homering in his 1987 major-league debut and homering twice in his first game with Baltimore. He was voted onto the 1997 Pawtucket Red Sox 25th anniversary team. In honor of Black History Month in 2022, Horn was selected by Minor League Baseball and the Worcester Red Sox as one of five best African-American players in Worcester/Pawtucket history.90
Horn settled in Rhode Island to take advantage of his name recognition and popularity for opportunities in business and baseball. He operated the Around the Horn Sports Center, a year-round indoor baseball training facility in Rhode Island, “where he taught and designed a curriculum to help young kids hone in on their athletic skills.”91 Horn was considered a natural for television, and thus became an analyst for NESN’s Red Sox pregame and postgame shows from 2004 to 2005. Horn’s catchphrase whenever a Sox player hit a home run was “Ka-pow.” In 2007, the Red Sox Nation fan site on MLB.com announced a campaign for the group’s presidency. Horn declared his candidacy but lost to Jerry Remy.92
Horn’s engaging personality led to an intense bonding with the fans. This popularity led to the formation and naming of the fan message board that grew out of a defunct website, Sons of Sam Horn (which Horn’s son Jamale discovered while researching a school assignment). Horn loved the site because it showed the passion of the fans. He noted, “The true diehard Red Sox fans, they’re a special breed.”93
Though Horn is called a “Red Sox cult hero,” he dislikes the term, for it implies blind devotion to a person or movement by a relatively small group. Horn does not seek adulation. Instead, the fans “give you a sense that people like you. I wasn’t a hero but I was the people’s choice, talked to them and signed autographs.”94 He has fond memories of Elizabeth “Lib” Dooley, who sat in the front row behind the Red Sox on-deck circle. “She was always there and was so supportive of me,” Horn recalled happily.95 “Miss Dooley went to every game at Fenway, asking me each game, ‘[A]re you going to be with us today?’”96
Horn is aware of his appeal to the common fan. “People see me as a genuine person fitting in with everyone. Moving forward in positive ways. Avoid negativity and be one of the people doing positive things.”97
In 2014, Horn formed KAPOW Media Group Inc. He hosted and produced the weekly talk show What is Your Pregame?, airing on NBC Sports Boston from 2017-2018. In January 2022, he formed Big Horn Entertainment, LLC as CEO and president. The third season of the show debuted on May 21, 2022, on NBC Sports Boston with Horn as co-host and producer.98 The show’s aim is to have “intimate conversation between Sam and his guests, giving the public insight on how the best of the best stays on top in their respective industries.”99
Since February 2016, Horn has been a corporate ambassador for the Red Sox. Known for his compassion, he visits hospitals, shelters for people experiencing homelessness, veterans’ groups, and youth baseball leagues. He appears at card shows and car dealerships to sign autographs while posing for selfies. Horn is devoted to many Boston area causes such as Safe At Home (an after-school program for kids), and other charities benefiting the community. His impact on Boston was celebrated by the Red Sox at Fenway Park on Sam Horn Day on June 14, 2022.
Horn is a father of three children (daughter Kyla was born in 1999). “Fatherhood is a great experience. I tried to be influential and give them things, material, that I didn’t have beyond being passionate and loved,” he said. Horn is a grandfather of three, of which he said, “It’s wonderful… another generation, another legacy, rewarding and hoping to share in their lives… life is not guaranteed and I hope to see them flourish and thrive.”
Sam Horn has become a confirmed New Englander, enjoying life and the change of the seasons with his longtime girlfriend Victoria. Reflecting on his life, he said, “I’m not perfect but I’ve done a lot more good than bad. I’ve done a lot of things to help people to try to move forward in a positive way.”100 Horn is grateful for his baseball career, stating, “I thank God for giving me the strength and knowledge to do something I like.”101 Of his relationship with the fans, he remarked, “The people who know me, they say, ‘That guy right there, he struck out a lot, but he was the kind of guy that you wanted to make sure and watch, because if he did hit it, he either hit it really hard or really far.’ I liked that.”102
Sam Horn has no regrets. He has more to give.
Last revised: April 11, 2023
Thanks to Sarah Coffin of the Boston Red Sox for her advice and assistance, as well as Bill Nowlin, who suggested that I write about this special person.
As always to my wife, Teri, for her unearthly patience with me and her invaluable input.
Special thanks to Sam Horn for his time for three interviews, several phone calls and text messages, along with his knowledge, memories, philosophy, and generosity.
This biography was reviewed by Bill Nowlin, Malcolm Allen, and Rory Costello, and fact-checked by Dan Schoenholz.
In addition to the sources cited in the Notes, the author consulted baseball-reference.com, retrosheet.org, mlb.com, milb.com, YouTube.com, sonsofsamhorn.com, Baseball America and the Baltimore Orioles and Boston Red Sox media guides.
1 Stan Olson, “A Big Shot,” Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, North Carolina), July 6, 1993: 4B.
3 Horn confirmed this nickname in his first interview with the author, who believes it was a high school moniker, probably sourced from a San Diego-area newspaper. Others were bestowed on him over time.
4 “They Said It:” Edmonton Journal (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada), July 28, 1987: 31.
5 Ian Browne, “HRs, Compassion Made Horn a Sox Cult Hero,” MLB.com, December 5, 2019.
7 Texas Department of Health Bureau of Vital Statistics, 1963 Births Index, Roll Number: 1963_0008, page 1890.
8 Interview with Sam Horn, February 4, 2022.
9 Interview with Sam Horn on February 4, 2022.
10 In a 2011 interview, Horn revealed his baseball origin story. A friend came over to his house and asked Sam if he could come and play baseball. They went to the practice at their elementary school. Sam didn’t have a glove or bat so the coach lent him a glove and hit grounders to him: “I tried to throw them over the backstop and everyone else I could, and he said, ‘take it easy.’ The chance to hit came and “I hit a couple of home runs and the guy said, ‘Hey, we maybe want you to play on our team.’”. See: “Sam Horn: The Boston Bomber, “The Baseball Historian, July 26, 2011. See: http://baseballhistorian.blogspot.com/2011/07/sam-horn-boston-bomber.html.
11 Interview with Sam Horn on December 1, 2021.
12 Peter Gammons, “Prospects Strong All Around the Horn,” Boston Globe, March 26, 1983: 28.
13 “South Bay Sports,” Chula Vista Star-News (Chula Vista, California), June 6, 1982: B-3; Horn had a season with 8 homers, 21 RBIs and a .421 average. A teammate at Morse was fellow future major leaguer Mark McLemore.
14 Interview with Sam Horn on December 1, 2021.
15 Interview with Sam Horn on February 4, 2022.
16 “Sam Horn: The Boston Bomber,” The Baseball Historian, July 26, 2011.
17 Al Mallette, “Horn Slugging for Yaz’ Spot,” Star-Gazette (Elmira, New York), July 7, 1982: 4B. The draft was held on June 7, 1982. Horn signed his contract with the Red Sox scout Ray Boone the following day.
19 Al Mallette, “Horn Has a Reputation to Live Up to in Future,” Star-Gazette, September 2, 1982: 10D. The Bob Stedler Award was named after the first NY-P league president voted by the team managers to the player expected to be the most successful in the majors. Horn was the first Elmira player to be selected. Among the Elmira players who never won the award includes Dick Allen, Wade Boggs, and Bob Stanley.
20 Jerry Hogan, “Satisfying Season Comes to a Finish for the Suns,” Star-Gazette, September 3, 1982: 3D. In 61 games, Horn ended with 11 home runs, 48 RBIs, and a .300 average.
21 Interview with Sam Horn on February 4, 2022.
22 Horn appeared in 68 games with 9 homers, 29 RBIs, and a .240 batting average.
23 Peter Gammons, “Clear’s Problem Not Exactly Clear,” Boston Globe, May 8, 1983: 42. Horn was heavily involved in the Winston-Salem community volunteering at local hospitals and schools.
24 Peter Gammons, “Prospects Strong All Around the Horn,” Boston Globe, March 26, 1983: 28.
25 Horn led the Carolina League in slugging at .538 and finished third in batting (.324) and RBIs (89).
26 Bob Sudyk, “They’re Blowing Horns for Sam,” Hartford Courant, March 30, 1985: E6.
27 In 1985 he led the Eastern League in doubles (32) and international walks (14) with 11 homers, 81 RBIs, and .282 average.
28 Sudyk. “They’re Blowing Horns for Sam.”
29 Interview with Sam Horn on August 12, 2022.
30 Horn batted .195 striking out 23 times in 77 at-bats with 3 homers at Pawtucket. At New Britain, Horn hit 8 homers with 46 RBIs, and a .246 batting average.
31 Steve Fainaru, “Peaceful Horn Heats Up His Bat,” Burlington Free Press (Burlington, Vermont), August 2, 1987: 5C.
32 Fainaru. Debra Horn was originally from Alabama.
33 “Horn’s Hot,” Modesto Bee (Modesto, California), August 16, 1987: 4.
34 Bob Sudyk, “Red Sox Release Buckner,” Hartford Courant (Hartford, Connecticut), July 24, 1987:15.
35 Interview with Sam Horn December 1, 2021.
36 Larry Whiteside, “Hamstring Injury Puts Evans on the Sidelines,” Boston Globe, May 20, 1987: 90.
37 Sudyk, “Red Sox Release Buckner.” Horn played 88 games as DH, four games at first base batting .321, with 30 homers, 84 RBIs at Pawtucket with a league-leading .649 slugging percentage.
38 At the time Horn joined Earl Averill (Cleveland Indians, April 16-17, 1929), Jim Lefebvre (New York Yankees, May 22-23, 1980) and Tim Laudner (Minnesota Twins, August 28-29, 1981) who each hit a homer in their first two major-league games.
39 Steve Fainaru, “Horn Hits 3rd HR; Sox Stop Jays, 6-5. Hartford Courant, July 30, 1997: B1.
40 Associated Press, “Red Sox Rookie Sam Horn Knocks in 5 Runs,” Ithaca Journal (Ithaca, New York), August 11, 1987: 3B.
41 Horn ended hitting 278 with 14 home runs with 34 RBIs with a .945 OPS in the 46 games. Projected with 550 at-bats, Horn was on a pace for 48 homers. With the homers hit at Pawtucket, Horn launched 44 homers in 491 at-bats.
43 Steve Fainaru, “Horn Proved He Can Blast the Ball, but There may be No Room for Him,” Hartford Courant, February 23, 1988: D5.
44 Fainaru, “Horn Proved He Can Blast the Ball, but There may be No Room for Him.”
45 Steve Fainaru, “Letter from Boston Won’t Ease Winter Haven Fears,” Hartford Courant, April 21, 1988: C7.
46 Horn finished the 1988 season with two homers, eight RBIs and a .148 average in 61 at-bats. He fared marginally better at Pawtucket as the full time DH batting .233 with 10 homers in 324 at-bats.
47 Mark Blaudschun, “Horn to Pawtucket?” Boston Globe, June 4, 1988: 27. McNamara was fired as Boston manager on July 14, 1988 and replaced by Joe Morgan.
48 Leigh Montville, “Horn on Way Up,” Boston Globe,” April 1, 1989: 34.
49 “Making the Majors, An Inexact Science: Sam Horn,” Boston Globe, June 4, 1989: 83.
50 Alan Greenberg, “Boston’s Sam Not Tooting his Horn,” New Press (Fort Myers, Florida): May 30, 1989: 4C.
51 Horn’s 1989 season with the Red Sox concluded with a .148 average in 33 games with no home runs. Horn matched his 1988 batting average.
52 Steve Buckley, “Horn Sounds Cautious About Staying in Boston,” Hartford Courant, September 10, 1989: E1.
53 Buckley, “Horn Sounds Cautious About Staying in Boston.”
54 John Hendel, “Sam Horn had two days to prove he belonged…,” United Press International: April 9, 1990. See https://www.upi.com/Archives/1990/04/09/Sam-Horn-had-two-days-to-prove-he-belonged/3190639633600/, accessed April 10, 2022.
55 Ken Rosenthal, “Big Sam: ‘Legend” Gets Look,” Evening Sun (Baltimore, Maryland), April 5, 1990: 31.
56 Kent Baker, “Horn One of Six Changes in Opening Day Lineup,” Sun (Baltimore, Maryland), April 8, 1990: 11.
57 Horn recollected that the four hits he had in the game were achieved with bats borrowed from teammates because his bats had not yet arrived. See: Mike Klingaman, “Catching Up With: Sam Horn,” Baltimore Sun, April 7, 2009.
58 Klingaman. His mother Velma Lee Horn was born in Angley, Louisiana on August 14, 1940, passing in San Diego on February 21, 2008. See; “County Obituaries,” San Diego Union-Tribune, February 29, 2008: B-6. His father Sammie Lee Horn was born on December 26, 1939, passing on March 31, 2011. See “Death Notice.” San Diego Union-Tribune, April 7, 2011: B-5.
60 When he sent down, Horn was batting .253 with 3 homers and 12 RBIs.
61 Jamale was born on June 10, 1990.
62 Patti Singer, “Homer Binge has Horn Eyeing Return to Orioles, Baltimore Sun (Baltimore, Maryland), June 25, 1990: 3B. In his first 29 at-bats, Horn batted .345 with 5 homers and 17 RBIs.
63 Horn batted .233.
64 Interview with Sam Horn on December 1, 2021.
65 After a poor start dropped them into last place, 10 games behind the first-place Boston Red Sox, the Orioles fired Frank Robinson as manager on May 23, 1991, elevating Johnny Oates who was at the time the first-base coach. See: Mark Maske, “Orioles Cut from Top – Put Oates in for Robinson,” Washington Post, May 24, 1991: D1.
66 Tim Kurkjian, “Flanagan, A Memorable Man,” ESPN.com, August 25, 2011 (See: https://www.espn.com/mlb/story/_/id/6894031/mlb-cy-young-winner-mike-flanagan-1951-2011, accessed June 1, 2021; Tim Kurkijan, “Inside Baseball,” Sports Illustrated, Vol.75, No. 5, July 29, 1991: 61; In the Sports Illustrated article, Flanagan noted that “[W]hen you make history, you’ve got to put your name on it.”; Paul Dickson, The Dickson Baseball Dictionary, 3rd edition (New York: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 2009), 434: “Horn” is defined as “a mythical award to a batter who strikes out six times in a row.” The entry for “Horn” refers to the game opponent as the Milwaukee Brewers. It was the Kansas City Royals.
67 Peter Schmuck, “Ripken’s Streak, MVP Performance Honored Tonight,” Baltimore Sun, July 19, 1991: 23.
68 Peter Schmuck, “His Glove Affair is Over, but Horn not Crying,” Baltimore Sun, February 27, 1992: 6B.
69 Horn played in 63 games during the 1992 season with 185 at-bats, 5 home runs, 19 RBIs, and a .237 average.
70 Jim Henneman, “Horn Focuses on Contact, Changes Batting Stance,” Baltimore Sun, June 2, 1992: 3D.
71 2021 Baltimore Orioles Media Guide (Baltimore Orioles, LP, 2021), 260; In the fifth inning, Horn walked advancing to second on third baseman Leo Gomez‘s single. Horn scored on Chris Hoiles‘ double.
72 Interview with Sam Horn on February 4, 2022.
74 “Horn, Charlotte Take the Title, 6-1, Beating Rochester in Game 5,” Evening Sun (Baltimore, Maryland), September 16, 1993: 7D.
76 “Yankees sign ex-Oriole Horn to a Minor League Deal,” Baltimore Sun, December 23, 1993: 8C; Jack Curry, “Yanks’ Taylor Has Dislocated Left Shoulder,” New York Times, December 23, 1993: B11; The Yankees signed Horn to a $90,000 Class-AAA contract on December 22, 1993.
77 Bob Hertzel, “Boss Praises Buck’s Work,” Record (Hackensack, New Jersey), February 28, 1994: 36.
78 John Delcos, “Ex-Oriole Trying to Slug his Way onto Pirates,” York Daily Record (York, Pennsylvania), February 15, 1995: 2B.
80 The Tennessee Tomahawks were in Winchester, Tennessee of the Big South League. The Tomahawks finished in third in a six-team league with 40-31 record in the 1996 Big South League season. The team fell two games to one in the playoffs to the Columbia Mules. Horn batted .328 with 4 home runs and 18 RBIs in 14 games played.
81 Taipei Gıda was a Taiwanese professional baseball team that existed from 1997 to 2002. It was one of the four Taiwan Major League (TML) teams and was based in Taipei, Taiwan. Horn held the record of being the highest-paid player in the Taiwan professional baseball history (USD 216,000 for the 1997 season).
82 Interview with Sam Horn on December 1, 2021.
83 Tom King, “You Never Know Who You Might Run into at Holman Stadium These Days,” Telegraph (Nashua, New Hampshire), May 30, 2000.
84 Tom King, “It Didn’t Take Same Home Long,” Telegraph, (Nashua, New Hampshire), June 9, 2000.
85 Tom King, “Mission Accomplished? You Wouldn’t Know It by Taking with Nashua Pride Manager Butch Hobson,” Telegraph (Nashua, New Hampshire), July 6, 2000. Horn batted .246 with 22 HR and 62 RBIs.
86 Nashua Pride brought home the Atlantic League championship in Game Three with a 6-5 over the Somerset Patriots as a result of Jose Reyes’ solo home run in the top of the 14th inning. For a game recap see: “They Got It Done — Finally,” Telegraph, (Nashua, New Hampshire), October 3, 2000.
87 Horn was hitting .295 with 13 homers and 47 RBIs when he retired.
88 Interview with Sam Horn on December 1, 2021.
89 Tom King, “On a Day When He Homered for the First Time in a Month, Sam Horn Knew the End was Near,” Telegraph, (Nashua, New Hampshire), August 21, 2001.
90 “Black History Month – The 5 Best Black Players in WooSox/PawSox history,” Worcester Red Sox MILB.com, February 4, 2022. See: https://www.milb.com/worcester/news/black-history-month-the-5-best-black-players-in-pawsox-woosox-history. Worcester is the Triple-A affiliate of the Boston Red Sox and began play there in 2021, succeeding the Pawtucket Red Sox
92 For more see: http://bostondirtdogs.boston.com/2007/08/tooting_his_own_horn.html; “Jerry Remy Wins Election as President of Red Sox Nation,” redsox.con, October 3, 2007.
93 Christina Pazzanese, “Like Sox, Horn Raised Hopes,” Boston Globe, July 6, 2004: City Weekly: 8.
94 Interview with Sam Horn on December 1, 2021.
95 Interview with Sam Horn on February 4, 2022.
96 Interview with Sam Horn on December 1, 2021.
97 Interview with Sam Horn on December 1, 2021.
100 Interviews with Sam Horn on December 1, 2021, and August 12, 2022.
101 Stan Olson, “Knights’ Slugger Hoping to Blast Back into Major Leagues,” Charlotte Observer (Charlotte, North Carolina), July 6, 1993: 5B; Interview with Sam Horn on August 12, 2022.
102 Browne, Interview with Sam Horn on August 12, 2022.