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Former Cardinals Pitcher Joe Hoerner Killed In Farm Accident

October 6, 1996 GMT

ST. LOUIS (AP) _ Joe Hoerner, a former Cardinals reliever, died Friday in a farming accident at a friend’s farm in Hermann, Mo. He was 60.

Hoerner was planting a field and apparently had gotten off a tractor to move an object, according to his daughter, Jolene Vollmer. He was killed when the tractor ran him over.

Hoerner was born and raised on a 250-acre farm near Dubuque, Iowa.

``My dad loved the outdoors,″ Vollmer said. ``He loved to hunt and fish. He enjoyed helping plant that field.″

A heart attack he suffered in 1957 turned him into a sidearm, left-handed pitcher.

Hoerner was signed by the Chicago White Sox in 1957 but almost left baseball a year later when he had a heart attack while pitching for Davenport. He spent most of the 1959 season at the University of Iowa hospital.

Doctors could find no damage to his heart but they advised him to change his delivery. They thought his overhand motion hampered his circulation.

He played two seasons in Houston. Cardinals scouts had watched him pitch in winter ball in Puerto Rico and signed him in 1966.

Hoerner was 5-1 with 13 saves and a 1.54 ERA in 1966. When the Cards won the World Series over the Boston Red Sox in 1967, he was 4-4 with 15 saves. The next season, he was the best left-handed reliever in the league with a 1.47 ERA and an 8-2 record with 17 saves for the NL champs.

A clubhouse joker, Hoerner was renowned for scaring teammates by putting dead snakes in their shoes. He once tossed a live lizard into the soup of friend and business partner Dal Maxvill.

He and Maxvill owned Cardinal Travel and operated the annual Cardinals cruise.

Hoerner is survived by his father, Walter; wife Darlene; a son, Ronald; two daughters, Sharon McDaniel and Vollmer, and three grandchildren.

Funeral arrangements were incomplete.