San Antonio baseball icon Joel Horlen passes away at age 84

For a young boy who practiced pitching in the 1940s by flinging baseballs into a tire in his San Antonio backyard, Joel Horlen enjoyed quite a career in the game.

To date, he remains the only player to have won titles at a Pony League World Series (1952), a College World Series (for Oklahoma State University, in 1959) and a Major League World Series (for the Oakland A’s, in 1972), according to his obituary.

Horlen has died at the age of 84, according to a story published Monday on the athletics website at Oklahoma State. He had been battling dementia for the past five years.

Slightly built at 6 feet and 170 pounds, Horlen played for 12 seasons in the major leagues, mostly with the Chicago White Sox. He pitched in 361 games and compiled a 116-117 record, with a 3.11 earned run average.

Remarkably, a year after winning a championship with the A’s in the World Series, he agreed to help out a struggling Double-A baseball franchise in his hometown.

He pitched in the summer of 1973 for the San Antonio Brewers and led the team to the Texas League championship series, according to author David King’s book, “San Antonio at Bat.”

It was the last professional season on record for Horlen, a former American Legion baseball teammate of San Antonio’s Gary Bell, another former major leaguer.

Gregory H. Wolf, who authored the ball player’s biography for the Society of American Baseball Research, said Horlen preferred to be called “Joe,” and not Joel.

“All my friends call me Joe and that’s what I go by,” he told Wolf. “When I got into baseball, it became Joel somehow. I guess because that’s how I sign my contract.”

Wolf pointed out in his article that Horlen led all American League pitchers with a 2.32 ERA over a five-year period (1964-68) as the right-handed ace of the White Sox.

“After pitching for the notoriously weak-hitting South Siders for his first 11 years, Horlen concluded his career as a reliever and spot starter for the world champion Oakland Athletics in 1972,” Wolf wrote. “With a career record of 116-117, Horlen could lay claim as one the best pitchers with a losing record in major-league history.”

Both Horlen and Bell were inducted into the San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.

Texas Longhorns continue to search for consistency

Inconsistency continues to plague the Texas Longhorns leading into a Saturday afternoon home game against Oklahoma State.

When the Longhorns tip off against the Cowboys at noon, the Longhorns will try to gain some traction after having lost seven of their last 11.

Their latest stumble?

Well, let’s just say the Kansas State Wildcats thoroughly enjoyed themselves Tuesday night in downing the ‘Horns 71-64 in Austin.

Big 12-leading Kansas State shot 54.9 percent from the floor and held Texas to 25 points in the second half.

Maddening stuff for Longhorns fans after watching their team chalk up non-conference victories over Arkansas, North Carolina and Purdue in November and December.

On the strength of its non-conference schedule and some solid efforts during that stretch, forecasters still believe Texas is an NCAA Tournament team.

But how many more times can it afford to score 61 points at home and still be regarded as worthy of an NCAA at-large bid?


Kansas State 19-5, 9-2
Texas 14-11 6-6