Today in Tribe History: July 2, 1970
Bob Toth | On 02, Jul 2017
First baseman Tony Horton hits for the cycle and the Cleveland Indians defeat the Baltimore Orioles in a 10-9 slugfest.
In his seventh Major League season, the Tribe first baseman had provided a steady .253 batting average, nine homers, and 37 RBI in his first 67 games. His cycle was the fifth in franchise history and the first since Larry Doby in 1952.
Horton was behind much of the scoring on the day, but was left stranded in the first after a two-out double. He led off the fourth inning with what is normally the hardest leg of the cycle, the triple, and scored on a double from the next batter, Ted Uhlaender, to cut the Baltimore lead to 5-4. Horton fouled out to end the fifth, but he drove in the tying run in the seventh with a two-out RBI-single. With the Indians up 8-6 in what would be his last chance for the cycle in the ninth, Horton homered off of Pete Richert to lead off the inning.
Not lost in the game was catcher Ray Fosse’s strong game. He homered and extended his hitting streak to 23 straight, the longest in the American League in nine years and tied for the second-longest in team history (equaling Dale Mitchell’s 23 in 1951, trailing Hal Trosky’s record of 28 in 1936). Opposing manager Earl Weaver was ejected after Fosse’s first inning blast.
Just the day before, Horton’s demeanor was one of an unhappy, possibly frustrated, ball player who was struggling some on the field. His thoughts were shared in The Plain Dealer on July 3, 1970, in Russell Schneider’s “Batting Around” column.
“I can’t understand it…I just can’t understand what I’m doing wrong,” shared Horton. “I know I should relax, and I tell myself to relax every time I go to the plate. But I don’t. I can’t, but don’t ask me why. It used to be that I relaxed when I batted, but I was tight in the field. You know, worried about doing the right thing if the ball was hit to me. But everything was natural when I was at the plate. Now, it’s just the opposite. I don’t worry about anything when I’m playing first base, and that’s probably why I’m playing first base better. At least I think I am. But when I go to bat, I’m so tight, even though I tell myself to relax, relax. Actually, my statistics aren’t bad. But I know I’m not doing for this club what I could be doing, especially with [Ken] Harrelson out.”
Horton would not last two more months with the club, walking away from the game for good on August 28. He was dealing with anxiety and depression.