Friendly Confines of Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium
1978 was Bobby Cox first year as an MLB manager. He had the pleasure of molding a fine young third baseman from Arizona State. Bob Horner was the first overall pick in the 1978 draft and went directly from swinging the aluminum bat in Tempe, Arizona to the maple wood bats of the National League.
Fortunately for the 20-year old rookie with no pro-ball experience he got to begin swinging that maple in the launching pad called Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.
In his rookie season Horner hit 19 of his 23 home-runs at home. His home ISO Power was 300 points higher than on the road. The young third baseman made a quick adjustment to road parks in only his second season. In 1979 Horner hit 12 of his 33 HRs on the road and slugged nearly .500 away from home.
The slugger would continue to take advantage of Atlanta finishing his career with 65% of his HRs at home but he did even out his overall power production a bit posting a career ISO of .107 higher at home than on the road.
Bob Horner’s most memorable game would come in a loss to the Expos in 1986. In a game in Atlanta where visitor Mitch Webster went 5-for-6 the launching pad would provide Horner with a lifetime of memories. Hitting between Dale Murphy and Ken Griffey, Horner launched 3 homers off Expo Andy McGaffigan and a fourth off star closer Jeff Reardon. Horner became only the 9th player in MLB history to bomb 4 homers in a game and would be the only player to accomplish the feat from 1977-1992.
Horner would end up finishing in the top 10 in the NL in HRs in each of his 6 full seasons. If only he could have stayed a little healthier and productive a bit longer he would have a dynamite career. As it is Horner posted an AB/HR rate equal with Jeff Bagwell and Jose Bautista.
Pretty impressive for a kid that never played a game in the minors.