Batting .424 in 1924, second baseman Rogers Hornsby made his mark in baseball history. Fans of the St. Louis Cardinals and whoever else walks through Busch Stadium can see Hornsby’s fully merited place in left field among the St. Louis greats, the Mount Rushmore of baseball players who let out blood, sweat and tears throughout time for their beloved Redbirds.
In 1924, Hornsby’s season was one of the best by a Cardinal and quite possibly one of the best in all of baseball history. As previously mentioned, an AVG. of .424, .507 OBP, .696 SLG, 1.203 OPS with 227 hits, 25 home runs and 121 runs. Yes, you read that correctly and yes, that was 96 years ago. Also something to note, he led the league in hits and walks. In his 23 big league seasons, he led the National League in batting seven times from 1920 to 1925. During those campaigns, he averaged .402. He won seven National League batting titles, two Triple Crown titles, and two MVP titles throughout his career.
His batting eye was so important to him that he refused to go to the movies or even read books to keep his trained eyes sharp. He did not drink or smoke despite the popularity of both during his baseball career, keeping a strict workout regime in order to stay physically fit and sharp for the season. If one were to look back on the workout and diets of baseball players during Hornsby’s time, they would see that his behavior was uncommon and rivaled how today’s athletes behave.
Not only did he have a successful baseball career that would lead him to the Baseball Hall of Fame, he led the St. Louis Cardinals to their first World Series title in 1926 as a player-manager. Although he helped win the championship, he was traded to the New York Giants in 1927 and then would be traded once again in 1928 to the Boston Braves. Hornsby said that his tag of Ruth was the biggest thrill of his career which came in the final game of the series.
He would serve as a player-manager with the Braves in 1928, the Chicago Cubs from 1930-1932 and with the St. Louis Browns from 1933-1937 and back as strictly the full-time manager in 1952. He went on to manage the Cincinnati Reds from 1952-1953. At the age of 46-years-old, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame with 78.1% vote.
Hornsby died on January 5, 1963 in Chicago, Illinois but his talent forever lives on.
Photo Credit: rogershornsby.com