Hometown Hero Willie Horton Reflects On World Series Memories
Willie Horton occupies a special place in Tigers’ postseason history.
His perfect strike to Bill Freehan in game 5 of the 1968 World Series—nailing Lou Brock—was a turning point as the Tigers rallied to beat the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games.
44 years later—the memories remain vivid for Horton.
As the 2012 Tigers begin World Series play tonight in San Francisco—he sees similarities between the two teams.
“We had not only good ballplayers we had good people. See, you can have the best ballplayers in the world and not have good people you can’t get the chemistry. So I look at this team almost like what we had,” Horton said. “We have our little bumps in the road, every sports team does. But I see the guys picking up each other. I like our chances.”
Horton celebrated his 70th birthday last week by visiting his high school, Detroit Northwestern. A cake helped mark the milestone.
Willie also spoke to students—sharing his values in baseball and life—while offering the same advice he received from one of his teachers decades ago.
“Look in the mirror every morning. It’ll teach you about yourself. It’ll teach you where you won’t have crutches, it’ll teach you you got to make good choices,” Horton told the students. “And I’m telling you young people out there, don’t let nobody take your dream that what you think about in life. You can be, do anything that you want to do.”
The Tigers retired Willie’s number—and erected a statue in his honor. He remains an adviser to team President Dave Dombrowski.
He’s a link to the past and hopes to witness this new chapter of success with a World Series championship.
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