Pitchers Bob Forsch and Rick Horton were Cardinals teammates for four seasons (1984-87). During that time, the Cardinals won two National League pennants.
Horton turned 25 in 1984, the year he made his major-league debut with the Cardinals. Forsch was 34 that season.
In 15 years with the Cardinals, 1974-88, Forsch pitched two no-hitters and helped St. Louis win the 1982 World Series title. Here is how Forsch ranks among all-time Cardinals pitchers:
_ Third in wins (163), behind only Hall of Fame pitchers Bob Gibson and Jesse Haines.
_ Third in innings pitched (2,658.2).
_ Third in strikeouts (1,079), behind only Hall of Fame pitchers Bob Gibson and Dizzy Dean, and six ahead of Chris Carpenter.
_ Second in games started (401).
Forsch died Nov. 3, 2011, at age 61. In retirement, he had been a fixture at the yearly Cardinals Legends Camp at Jupiter, Fla. When I interviewed Horton (now a Cardinals broadcaster) at that camp Jan. 27, 2012, it was evident Forsch’s presence was missed. So, in honor of his teammate, I asked Horton to share his favorite Bob Forsch story.
Here is how Rick Horton responded:
After a game in Chicago, he and I got on the L train to get back to our hotel after a Cardinal win. We had a bunch of Cardinals fans, who had had a few too many Budweiser products, on the train with us and they were loving Bob, saying, “Bob you’re my favorite player” and they were just going bananas over the fact that they were on the L train with Bob Forsch.
At one point, a guy says to Bob, “We always wondered if your son played baseball.” And Bob said, “I have two daughters. I don’t have a son.” And the guy pointed at me and said, “Isn’t he your son?”
I’ll never forget that. I laughed so hard. Bob laughed so hard.
You couldn’t write a better script, because the next day, honest, was Father’s Day. So I went to the hotel gift shop and bought him a Father’s Day card and had it up in his locker the next day. And I did that for a number of years to follow, treating Bob as my Dad.
In some ways, more aptly, Bob was like an older brother for me, in terms of showing me the way, showing me the right things, keeping me away from the wrong things, encouraging what professionalism is all about. Anybody who played with him knew Bob as a professional.
As well-known as he is, I’d still say he’s the most underrated Cardinals pitcher in the last 75 years. When you look at the Cardinals record books, his name is all over that. He spanned two decades.
The two no-hitters almost condenses him too much, almost makes him to be that guy instead of a guy who was so much more than that. He won a World Series game, pitched in three World Series for the Cardinals and really was the heart and soul of the pitching staff, at least when I was there.
When we lost Bob as a teammate, we lost an awful lot of leadership. And when we lost him this past year, we lost a lot more than that.
Previously: How Bob Forsch converted to pitching