Rogers Hornsby Sr. or also known as The Rajah, was a Major Baseball League infielder, coach, and manager. He spent most of his career playing for the St. Louis Cardinals and the St. Louis Browns, along with some short stints at several other clubs.
Hornsby was born in Winters, Texas, on April 27, 1896. He’s on the second spot of the list for having the highest career batting average of .366. Aside from that, Hornsby has a .358 career average, which is considered to be the highest for any right-handed hitter in any National League player. In 1942, Hornsby was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. In 1999, he was listed on the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.
Aside from his success on the field, Roger Hornsby was also known to be one of baseball’s successful player-managers. Hornsby guided the Cardinals to a World Series win against Babe Ruth and the New York Yankees in 1926. During that game, Hornsby tagged out Ruth, trying to steal a second base, therefore ending that Series.
Roger Hornsby holds the modern record of having the highest batting average in a season, with a .424 in 1924. Aside from that, Hornsby also won the Triple Crown in 1922 and 1925 by leading runs batted in, home runs, and batting average. Hornsby also won the NL’s MVP award twice, one in 1925 and one in 1929. During the peak of his career from 1920 to 1925, Hornsby excellently led his league in batting average in RBIs for four years, and he even had two home runs. From 1921 through 1925 seasons, Roger Hornsby managed to have an astonishing average of .402 for five years, a record that is unlikely to be equaled again. Over the course of his career, Hornsby managed to hit over 300 homers; take note that he did not do all of them as a second baseman.
Hornsby’s Controversial Character
Even if Hornsby is known to be one of the most controversial baseball players, he did not smoke or drink. But, he is known to be a compulsive gambler and a member of the Ku Klux Klan. Aside from that, Hornsby was reportedly sarcastic and uncompromising towards club owners and his teammates.
Hornsby’s trade to the New York Giants after the 1926 season was held up because he was the Cardinals manager, and he owned several shares of stock in the Cardinals. For Hornsby to be out of the Cardinals, the team’s owner, Sam Breadon, decided to offer Hornsby a payment for the stock, which is considerably lower than what Hornsby demanded. Eventually, other owners of the National League decided to make up the difference so that the trade can push through.
Like other star athletes, Hornsby had some trouble relating to other players who did not share his talent or goal for winning. After winning the World Series as the Cardinal’s player-manager, Hornsby was traded to the Giants; after a year, he was traded to the Boston Braves. After one season, Hornsby finally traded to the Chicago Cubs, where he also became the team’s player-manager for three seasons. This is why Hornsby is considered one of the baseball players who played in four different teams in four years.
Hornsby’s baseball career did not end there; he also played for several teams after that. He was hesitant to retire because he had financial problems due to his obsession with gambling over the years. That is why he played and managed several teams up until 1962. In 1963, Roger Hornsby died of a heart attack after going through cataract surgery.