SPORTS: Underdog Horwitz starts off like Iron Horse Gehrig

Pub date June 2, 2008
WriterMarke B.
SectionSF Blog

By A.J. Hayes

Nobody is quite ready to anoint Cal product Brian Horwitz as the next Lou Gehrig. But last Sunday – on the 83rd anniversary of the start of the Yankee legend’s Herculean 2,130 consecutive game streak – the San Francisco rookie made the type of dramatic big league entrance the “Iron Horse” would have been proud of.

In his debut big league start, the 25-year-old outfielder drilled his first two major league hits and scored the tying run on Sunday in a thrilling 4-3 comeback win over visiting San Diego. The second knock, a solid 10th inning single off all-time-saves leader Trevor Hoffman, fueled the game winning rally.

Brian Horwitz, slugger

“I couldn’t have written it any better than today,” said Horwitz, who has scratched and clawed his way through the Giants minor league season since his ignominious beginnings in pro ball in 2004. “I know I can hit up here. I have the confidence in myself to get the job done.”

In this current season of Giants rebuilding, Horwitz – who is married, stands 6-foot-1, 187 pounds and has longish straight black hair that parts naturally in the middle – is the latest of a troop of farmhands the club has auditioned. By the end of September, San Francisco hopes to have separated the prospects from the suspects.

If Horwitz’s track record is any indication, when 2008 is done he should land in the former category.

Heading into this season Horwitz brought a sizzling .322 career minor league average.

It was on June 1, 1925 that the almost 23-year-old year-old Gehrig pinch-hit in a game for the Yankees. He started the next day, when, according to legend, regular New York first baseman Wally Pipp begged out of the lineup with a headache. Gehrig batted 3-for-5. It would be 13 seasons before Gehrig missed another game.

Horwitz’s consecutive game streak was not expected to last nearly as long. Talented left fielder Fred Lewis – the man Horwitz spelled on Sunday – stroked a very un-Pipp-like game tying pinch-hit, two-run triple to drive in Horwitz in the 10th inning Sunday

But the fact that Horwitz has managed to slip on a Giants jersey this season marks a significant accomplishment for the Southern California native.