Terry Foster: Willie Horton Made Special Impact

My assignment was to write — in the spirit of Black History Month — about the athlete that had the greatest impact on me growing up.

The choice was easy: Willie Horton.

The former Tigers slugger — currently a member of the team’s front office — was a hero for his playing ability and his influence.

His legs and arms churned in perfect symphony to produce towering home runs that rattled the wooden, green left-field seats at Tiger Stadium. He embraced his community so deeply that he was willing to sacrifice his safety to quell the race riots in 1967. And he was no stranger to inner-city Detroit during regular visits to barber shops and grocery stores.

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  • Michael

    Great article on my baseball hero…Willie Horton. Being a white kid from Oak Park, it seemed (at the very least) to be unconventional that my favorite player was not Norm Cash or Bill Freehan, but was “Willie the Wonder.”

    My cousin lived down the street from me & every spring we would declare our favorite player, he always said Kaiine & I always answered Horton. Maybe there would be more interest in black kids playing baseball if they could understand Horton’s legacy.

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