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Sunday, May 15, 2022

Sam Horn saw high hopes turn into eight-season ML career, but missed expectations

Red Sox hitting coach Walt Hriniak looked into the minors in spring 1985 and saw highly-touted prospect Sam Horn on the horizon, Red Sox manager John McNamara recounted to UPI, and Hriniak reported Horn would be a fine hitter.

"He played in A ball last year and they have high hopes for him. I think he's going to get stronger," McNamara told UPI then. "He's got some baby fat on him. He's a good looking hitter."

Those high hopes for Horn, however, never really panned out. While he did make the majors two seasons later, and saw the bigs over eight seasons, he had an identified issue as a fielder. He didn't become the player many had hoped. His major league career consisted of 389 games and a .240 average.

Horn's career began in 1982, taken by the Red Sox 16th overall out of Samuel F.B. Morse High School in San Diego.

Horn started out with the Red Sox at short-season Elmira. He hit .301, with 11 home runs. His work won the league's award for the player managers thought would go the furthest in pro baseball.

"I was lost for words," Horn told The Elmira Star-Gazette of that early honor. "I won't let the people down here in Elmira or in Boston."

Horn made single-A Winston Salem for 1983, then AA New Britain for 1985. Hew hit .282, with 11 home runs at New Britain, but he also committed 23 errors.

He saw 20 games at AAA Pawtucket in 1986. Then, in July 1987, he debuted in Boston. He also had early success. He saw 46 games and hit .276. He hit 14 home runs.

"I'm just pleased with my performance and happy to be here," Horn told The Associated Press after an August game that saw him hit a grand slam and two doubles. "There are so many good pitchers in the big leagues I can't look for any patters. You have to see the ball well and hit it."

Horn, however, couldn't keep up that success. He saw 24 games in 1988, then 33 in 1989. The Red Sox then released him and he signed with the Orioles.

He then saw some regular time in Baltimore. He saw 79 games in 1990, then 121 in 1991 and 63 in 1992. He hit .248, .233 and .235.

Horn then saw 12 games with the Indians in 1993 and 11 with the Rangers in 1995 to end his major league career.

1990 Minor League Tally 
Players/Coaches Featured:3,915
Made the Majors:1,305-33.3%-X
Never Made Majors:2,610-66.7%
5+ Seasons in the Majors:529-X
10+ Seasons in the Minors:326

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