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Bob Horner
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Bob Horner

James Robert "Bob" Horner (born August 6, 1957) is a former Major League Baseball third baseman/first baseman and right-handed batter who played for the Atlanta Braves (1978-1986) and St. Louis Cardinals (1988). He was born in Junction City, Kansas.

Horner went straight from Arizona State University to the Braves starting line-up with an impressive college resume, but most of his majors career, he was hampered by assorted injuries.

A second baseman for TSN's College All-America team in 1977 and 1978, Horner set a NCAA record with 58 career home runs for Arizona State, set a 25-homer season record, and was selected the MVP of 1977 College World Series. He was drafted by Atlanta in the 1st round (1st pick) of the 1978 amateur draft and made his debut in the same year. In his first game, he belted a home run off Bert Blyleven of the Pirates. In 89 games, Horner batted .266 with 23 home runs and 63 runs batted in in just 323 at bats. He won the National League Rookie of the Year honors over Ozzie Smith.

In his 1979 sophomore year Horner batted .314 with 33 homers and 98 RBI; .268, 35, 89 the next year, despite he was sidelined for 79 games in both seasons after recurrent shoulder and legs injuries. In the strike-shortened 1981 season he hit .277, 15, 42 in 79 games. Horner enjoyed his best seasons in 1982, finishing with 32 home runs and 97 RBI.

On August 1983, Horner was hitting .303 with 20 homers and 68 RBI, but he fractured his right wrist when he was sliding on a base, missing the last 43 games. In May 1984, he broke again the same wrist when he diving a ball and was sidelined for the rest of the season.

Horner found a way to keep healthy in 1985. He played 130 games and finished with a .267 BA, 27 HRs and 89 RBI. In 1986, Horner set personal highlights. In a game against the Expos, he became the 11th player to hit four home runs in a game. Later in the season, after hitting a record 210 home runs without a grand slam, Horner finally belted a homer with the bases loaded to give the Braves a 4-2 victory over the Pirates. In 1998, Sammy Sosa hits his 248th career homer, and his first grand slam, to broke the Horner's majors record for most home runs without a grand slam from the start of a career.

A free agent in 1987, Horner, unable to find a MLB club interested in his services, signed a one-year contract with the Yakult Swallows of the Japanese League. He returned to the majors in 1988 to play with the Cardinals, but after 60 games, he injured his left shoulder. In the 1989 spring training, Horner at 31, announced his retirement.

In 10-seasons career, Horner batted .277 with 218 homeruns, 685 RBI, 560 runs, 1047 hits,169 doubles, 8 triples, 14 stolen bases, a .340 on base percentage, and .499 of slugging average in 1020 games.

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