Beyond his eight seasons in the major leagues, including three with the Red Sox, Sam Horn has made quite a name for himself in the Boston area.
Horn first operated the Around the Horn Sports Center for three years, then served as a studio host for Red Sox games on the New England Sports Network during the 2004 and 2005 seasons. His much-acclaimed run to become the first president of Red Sox Nation fell short in 2007, and now he enters his second season as host for the weekly TV talk show “What is Your Pre-Game?”
“It’s something that I’m very passionate about,” Horn said about the show that airs Saturday mornings during the baseball season on NBC Sports Boston.
The show features interviews conducted by Horn with Boston area celebrities, athletes, CEOs and other people of interest. A recent show gave a behind-the-scenes look at B.Good Food With Roots restaurants and its co-founder Anthony Ackil.
“The show talks about your preparation,” Horn says. “It talks about all the different ways people prepare, whether that’s a mental thing, whether that’s food and nutrition, working out or listening to music.
“I believe whether you are an athlete or someone in the business, if you fail to prepare, then you prepare to fail.”
Horn’s preparation for a big league career began when he was the 16th overall pick in the 1982 draft by the Red Sox out of Morse High in San Diego. The 6-foot-5, 215-pound, lefthanded hitter worked his way through the Red Sox chain and earned his way on to the cover of Baseball America after batting .321 with 30 home runs and 84 RBIs in 1987 at Triple-A Pawtucket. He launched 14 homers in 46 games as DH with the Red Sox that summer following a late-July callup.
A lightly regarded prospect prior to 1987, Horn turned his career around by embracing what today would be called another data point in the fly-ball revolution. “Ted Williams advised Horn to swing up on the ball and hit the ball in the air more often,” wrote Nick Cafardo for BA in the Sept. 25, 1987 issue.
Horn had a way about making his presence known wherever he went in baseball.
Just as he did in his first professional at-bat for short-season Elmira of the New York-Penn League in 1982, Horn homered in his 1987 major league debut, a game-winning three-run shot for the Red Sox.
Those debuts paled in comparison to the splash he made with Baltimore to open the 1990 season. Having just arrived in time for the game after tending to his ailing mother, Horn stroked four hits, including a pair of three-run homers that set the Orioles’ record for RBIs (six) in a season opener. He dedicated the game to his mother.
For his career with the Red Sox, Orioles, Indians and Rangers, Horn hit .240/.328/.468 with 62 home runs. After two seasons in the Mexican League, Horn took a three-year break from the game, then retired at age 37 after spending 2000 and 2001 with Nashua in the independent Atlantic League.
His popularity with Boston fans flourished through his work in television and never was more pronounced than during the summer of 2007 when the Red Sox Nation fan Web site conducted a campaign for president of the club. One group ran an ad in USA Today to support his cause.
Horn lost the election to former Red Sox player and longtime club TV commentator Jerry Remy, but he has remained popular with Boston fans ever since.