Tigers icon Willie Horton to be honorary coach at All-Star Game

Detroit News

Willie Horton is going back to the All-Star Game.

The Detroit Tigers icon will be an honorary coach and join the festivities at Dodger Stadium on July 19, Major League Baseball announced on Monday.

Houston Astros manager Dusty Baker selected Horton, who is a four-time All-Star. Horton currently is serving as a special assistant to Al Avila, the Tigers’ executive vice president and general manager.

Horton played 18 seasons in the majors, 14 of them coming in Detroit. His best season was in 1968 when the 25-year-old helped the Tigers win the World Series. Horton finished fourth in MVP voting, with a .285 batting average to go along with 36 home runs.

“It will be one of my greatest honors to stand alongside one of the best baseball men I know, Mr. Dusty Baker, as an honorary coach at this year’s All-Star Game,” Horton said in a statement. “Some of the greatest memories from my playing career came from my four All-Star appearances, and I’m excited to help represent the Tigers among baseball’s best and brightest at Dodger Stadium next month.”

In the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals that year, Horton posted a .304 batting average and scored six runs, including one in the pivotal Game 7 victory.

In addition to 1968, Horton received All-Star honors in 1965, 1970 and 1973.

Horton was born in Virginia and after moving to Detroit, he played for Northwestern High School as a teenager, signing with the Tigers shortly thereafter in 1961. He made his pro debut two years later, in 1963, after spending time in the Tigers’ farm system.

Before his retirement in 1980, Horton played in Texas, Cleveland, Oakland, Seattle and Toronto in the last four years of his career.

Currently, Horton ranks fifth in Tigers’ history in home runs and 10th in RBIs. His No. 23 was retired and a statue was placed in Comerica Park in 2000.

rsilva@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @Rich_Silva18

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