Tuesday, November 11, 2014

#41 Joe Hoerner , south paw bullpen all star and Proto Robert Wuhl lookalike.

I often compare faces in my mind. Some people focus on names, my mind works in images. With my mind working this way, I see Robert Wuhl when I see Joe Hoerner on this 1967 Topps baseball card.

I admit it, I may be the only person seeing it, but I do see it with the way my brain operates. Hoerner was bigger in physical stature but at the time, seeing Wuhl in movies like Bull Durham and Batman, I couldn't help but think that I saw him before and here is where I thought I saw his face. That's what I remember most about his '67 card. It has a standard head shoulder photo. Good color on the photo. Nothing looking washed out in the image.

Hoerner was late starting in the Majors and when he did it was with a very young Houston team. Hoerner was almost 27 when he debuted. This was due to health problems early in his pro career. Hoerner was a workhorse reliever and he had hitters baffled with his pitches. His ERA was excellent throughout his time in St Louis and even better when he went on to pitch for the Phillies. Hoerner was a part of the contentious trade involving Curt Flood. Flood refused to report and his fate in the Majors was all but sealed after that.

In 1970, Hoerner represented the Phillies in the All Star game as a left handed reliever. This was the days when starters would pitch 16 innings if they had to. A reliever making a name for himself was still a rarity. He hadn't saved many games, only 99 in a 14 year career, but when he did pitch he did his job well.

Hoerner went on to play for 5 major league teams and was one of the oldest players to appear in the National League game at that time in his career. His career ended as part of a depleted 1977 Reds bullpen.

Hoerner died in a farming accident. This article offers more information about the man too. Former Tiger pitcher, Mark 'The Bird' Fidrych died in a similar accident.

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