|Born: August 14, 1937|
San Antonio, Texas
|September 4, 1961, for the Chicago White Sox|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 4, 1972, for the Oakland Athletics|
|Earned run average||3.11|
|Career highlights and awards|
Joel Edward Horlen (born August 14, 1937) is an American former professional baseball pitcher. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) from 1961 to 1972 for the Chicago White Sox and Oakland Athletics. In references, he is called Joe Horlen or Joel Horlen with roughly equal frequency.
From 1964-68, Horlen led all American League pitchers with a 2.32 ERA. In his career, Horlen won 116 games against 117 losses, with a 3.11 earned run average and 1,065 strikeouts in 2,002 innings pitched.
Horlen was a star pitcher at Oklahoma State University. He was named to the American Baseball Coaches Association All-America second team, as he helped lead Oklahoma State to the College World Series in 1959.
Horlen was signed by the Chicago White Sox in 1959. That year he pitched for the Lincoln Chiefs. The next season he pitched in Class A for the Charleston White Sox, and was 7-5 with a 2.93 ERA. He began 1961 pitching for the AAA San Diego Padres, for whom he was 12-9 with a 2.51 ERA.
He made his Major League debut against the Minnesota Twins in the second game of a September 4, 1961 doubleheader. He won the game in relief while wearing a numberless uniform --- as the only available road uniform did not have a number.
Horlen pitched as a spot starter in his first two full seasons with the White Sox. In 1963, he returned to the minors to pitch four games for the AAA Indianapolis Indians, going 3-0 with a 1.74 ERA.
In 1964 he earned a spot in the starting rotation, posting a 13-9 record and setting career bests in earned run average (1.88; 2nd in the American League only to Dean Chance's 1.65) and strikeouts (138). He also led the majors by allowing only 6.07 hits per 9 innings, bettering Sandy Koufax's National League-leading 6.22. In the next 42 years, only 8 right-handed pitchers bettered that ratio in a season. He also led the AL in Walks + Hits per IP (WHIP) (.935).
In 1965 he was 2nd in the league in shutouts (4), and was 3rd in walks/9 IP (1.60). In 1966 he led the league in wild pitches (14), was 6th in hit batsmen (6), and was 2nd in ERA (2.43).
Horlen's best season was in 1967; he finished 19-7 and led American League pitchers with a 2.06 ERA and 6 shutouts, was 2nd in W-L percentage (.731), 4th in wins, complete games (13), and walks/9 IP (2.02), and 7th in innings pitched (258). He also led the AL in Walks + Hits per IP (WHIP) (.953). He was named to the American League All-Star team for the only time in his career, but did not pitch in the game. The highlight of Horlen's season was a clutch performance on September 10 as the White Sox were involved in a four-way pennant race with the Twins, Boston Red Sox, and Detroit Tigers; he no-hit the Tigers in the first game of a doubleheader at Comiskey Park. Not until the Tigers' Jack Morris no-hit the White Sox in 1984 would another no-hitter be pitched in a White Sox home game, and the next no-hitter by a White Sox in a White Sox home game wouldn't be pitched until 2007, by Mark Buehrle at U.S. Cellular Field.
Horlen recorded victories in his next three starts, the next one coming five days later against the Twins. However, on September 27, which would be known by White Sox fans as "Black Wednesday", the lowly Kansas City Athletics swept a doubleheader from the White Sox and effectively eliminated Eddie Stanky's "Hitless Wonders" (the White Sox led the Majors with a 2.45 earned run average but also posted a .225 batting average, with no regular batting above .250) from pennant contention. Horlen lost the second game, with 21-year-old Catfish Hunter shutting out the White Sox 4-0. The two games were the last played by the Athletics in Kansas City; they moved to Oakland for the start of the 1968 season. The White Sox finished fourth, three games behind the Red Sox who, after finishing next to last in 1966, won the pennant on the final day, finishing one game ahead of the Twins and Tigers.
In 2004, he was inducted into the San Antonio Sports Hall of Fame.
As of 2017, he was suffering from Alzheimers.