Rogers Hornsby Sr., nicknamed “The Rajah”, was born on April 27, 1896, in Winters, Texas. He was was raised in Fort Worth, near Dallas, also in Texas. He was an baseball infielder, manager, and coach. Hornsby played for 5 different teams in Major League Baseball (MLB) throughout an illustrious career, which lasted for 23 seasons.
Career Overview of Rogers Hornsby
As a Player
One could say Rogers Hornsby always had it in him, as he was the star of his high school baseball team.
Hornsby started his career at the age of 19 with his major league debut for the St. Louis Cardinals in 1915. He played many positions in the early part of his career, until he moved to second base in 1920. This remained his primary position for the rest of his career.
From 1920 to 1925, Hornsby excelled in the National League for 6 consecutive seasons. He hit over .400 in the 1922, 1924, and 1925 seasons. His all-time high average of .424 in the 1924 season is the second-highest in the Major Leagues in the 20th century, sitting behind only Nap Lajoje’s .426 average in 1901.
During his six-year National League’s batting champion reign, Hornsby was also famous for his great power and outstanding fielding ability. He was one of those rare talents who could do it all, leading the league in in home runs twice(1922, 1925). In 1925, he was awarded the MVP.
In 1926, Hornsby played as the Cardinal’s player-manager and led the team to its first-ever World Series victory, a seven-game win over the New York Yankees.
After the championship, Hornsby was sold to the New York Giants. He was again sold the following 1928 season, this time to the Boston Braves where he once again led the league in batting average. Before the end of 1929, he was again traded, for the third time in three years, to the Chicago Cubs.
Roger Hornsby won an MVP award and averaged over .300 in his first three seasons at the Chicago Cubs. However, his play fell dramatically in the fourth year, and he was released in the 1932 season after just 19 games. He went on to play sparingly for the Cardinals in 1933, and then for the St. Louis Browns from 1933 to 1937 before retiring in 1937.
As a Manager
Hornsby served as a player-manager during his time with the Braves in 1928, the Cubs from 1930 – 1932, and all through his entire tenure with the Browns. He became a full-time manager for the Browns for part of the 1953 season and went on to manage Cincinnati Reds for part of 1953. At the end of his playing career, Roger Hornsby worked as a scout and coach on the roster of many Major League teams.
Throughout his career, Hornsby bore a nickname — The Rajah, which illustrated what he was all about. He never believed in drinking, smoking, or watching movies. He also loved to gamble on horses, and hated losing. Till this very day, he is still seen as the royalty and the supreme leader of baseball.
To date, Hornsby is regarded as one of the best hitters of all time, having recorded 2,930 hits and 301 home runs in his career. He batted .400 or more three times in his career and is the only player in history to hit 40 home runs and bat .400 in the same year, a feat he achieved in 1922. His batting average of .424 in the 1924 season is a mark no player has matched since then.
In 1942, Hornsby was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame in 2014.
• World Series champion (1926)
• 2× NL MVP (1925, 1929)
• 2× Triple Crown (1922, 1925)
• 7× NL batting champion (1920–1925, 1928)
• 2× NL home run leader (1922, 1925)
• 4× NL RBI leader (1920–1922, 1925)
• Elected into the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame
• Elected into the Major League Baseball All-Century Team
• Elected into the Major League Baseball All-Time Team