From an early age, anyone who saw Joe Horlen play knew he was going to be a star.
His parents and sibling could see his passion for baseball. "Little Joe," as he was called by many, excelled in youth baseball. Growing up in San Antonio, Texas, Joe was given support and love by his proud family. His brother, Bill, was his best friend and biggest fan. When Joe went on to help his team win the inaugural Pony League World Series in 1952, others began to notice too. Joe was a phenomenal pitcher.
Joe went on to win the College World Series with Oklahoma State University in 1959 and signed on to the Chicago White Sox the same year. He played in the minor leagues until the Sox called him up to the majors in 1961. The major league would hold surprising challenges for Horlen-and a family tragedy had the potential to derail his life...
Texas Heat, Chicago Fire is a labor of love that stemmed from dozens of interviews the author conducted over the years with Horlen. Horlen's warm personality and charisma confirmed everything Robert L. McCartha had heard about the pitcher.
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About the Author
Robert McCartha always loved baseball. He played sandlot, Dixie Youth Baseball, and in the Columbia, South Carolina, Colt League. When McCartha was seven years old, he decided to pick a favorite baseball team. He settled on the Chicago White Sox.
Joe Horlen joined the team in 1961, and McCartha followed him for his entire career.
McCartha quit playing baseball and went on to letter in tennis at Newberry College. After graduating, he owned and managed a chain of sports-collectible and mail-order stores.
McCartha first met Horlen in 1988. They renewed their friendship in 2013, and McCartha was thrilled to hear stories of the White Sox from one of its stars. Horlen graciously gave dozens of interviews about his life, and McCartha used them to write Texas Heat, Chicago Fire.
McCartha and his wife, Linda, are now enjoying their retirement in Columbia, South Carolina.