From BR Bullpen
Rogers Hornsby (Rajah)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 11", Weight 175 lb.
- Debut September 10, 1915
- Final Game July 20, 1937
- Born April 27, 1896 in Winters, TX USA
- Died January 5, 1963 in Chicago, IL USA
 Biographical Information
"People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring." - Rogers Hornsby
Rogers Hornsby was an incredible player who retired while holding the record for the most career home runs in the National League, and he continues to hold the National League record for the highest career batting average. Hornsby's major league career batting average of .358 was more than 100 points higher than his minor league career batting average (once the winning answer to a SABR Trivia contest in 1987). Although he finished the 2005 season 108th on the all time home run list, Hornsby was once second all time to Babe Ruth in home runs. He was also a long-time manager, a couple of whose teams rebelled against him. As manager of the 1926 Cardinals, he brought St. Louis their first World Series victory.
Hornsby, sometimes called "Rajah", was obsessed about baseball, refusing to do anything off-field that might strain his eyes.
He was primarily a shortstop during his first 5 seasons, playing some third base as well. It was the dead-ball era, and so his stats are not as eye-popping as his later accomplishments. However, he was second in batting in 1917 and 1919, and he led the league in slugging in 1917. He was second in triples in 1916 and first in 1917, and was in the top 5 in home runs from 1917 to 1919.
While quite proud of his fielding ability as a shortstop in those years, Hornsby nevertheless had mediocre range factors and improved his range when he moved to 2nd base in 1920.
The lively ball era ushered in by Babe Ruth was welcomed by Hornsby, who took advantage of playing in a small park in St. Louis. Not only did his doubles go up, but his home runs shot up as high as 42 and his triples stayed as high as they had been in the dead-ball era. He holds a five-year batting record with a .402 batting average over the span 1921-1925. He also won the 1922 and 1925 National League Triple Crowns. He was MVP in 1925.
Throughout the 1920s, Hornsby missed hitting .360 only once. He won the batting championship 7 times that decade, and was second once and third once. His high was .424 in 1924. And he wasn't a one-team player. When traded to the New York Giants in December 1926 at age 31 (for Hall of Famer Frankie Frisch, a younger player), Hornsby responded by finishing second in the league in batting, first in on-base percentage and second in slugging. When he moved to the Boston Braves in 1928, he led the league in batting, on-base percentage and slugging. When he moved to the Chicago Cubs in 1929, at the age of 33, he won the MVP award.
He never played a full season after that, although in 1931 he finished first in OBP and second in slugging while appearing in 100 games. Hornsby had become a player-manager in 1925, and was to gradually play less and less under teams he managed. His last year as a player was 1937, in which he hit .321 in 56 at-bats for the St. Louis Browns. It was also the last year for Jim Bottomley, who had played alongside him on the Cardinals as a young player, and who now finished up with the Browns.
"I played my best ball for him, but he was mean . . . I played my greatest time for him, but everyone hated him." - Harlond Clift, about Hornsby as the manager of the St. Louis Browns
Ted Williams credited Hornsby as having a big impact on him as a hitter.
Hornsby led the league in batting 7 times, and is 2nd on the all-time list (1st on the National League all-time list). He led the league 9 times in OBP, and 9 times in SLG. He led the league 5 times in runs scored, 4 times in doubles, 2 times in triples, 2 times in home runs, and 4 times in RBI.
Bill James ranks Hornsby as the third greatest second baseman of all time, behind both Joe Morgan and Eddie Collins. He is almost universally ranked as the top offensive second baseman, but some analysts and fans have argued that his poor defense drops him below the likes of Morgan, Collins or Nap Lajoie as the top all-around second baseman.
Hornsby's son, Bill Hornsby, was a minor league outfielder. With Ronald Reagan playing Grover Cleveland Alexander, Frank Lovejoy played Hornsby in "The Grover Cleveland Alexander Story". His first Baseball Card appearance was in the 1916 E135 Collins-McCarthy set.
"Son, when you pitch a strike Mr. Hornsby will let you know." - An umpire, in response to a rookie pitcher's complaint that some of his pitches had incorrectly been called as balls
As opposed to the quote above, Hornsby "peddles life insurance" during winter, per a January 21, 1921 newspaper article, see link title.
 Notable Achievements
- 2-time NL MVP (1925 & 1929)
- 2-time NL Triple Crown (1922 & 1925)
- 7-time NL Batting Average Leader (1920-1925 & 1928)
- 9-time NL On-Base Percentage Leader (1920-1925, 1927, 1928 & 1931)
- 9-time NL Slugging Percentage Leader (1917, 1920-1925, 1928 & 1929)
- 11-time NL OPS Leader (1917, 1920-1925, 1927-1929 & 1931)
- 5-time NL Runs Scored Leader (1921, 1922, 1924, 1927 & 1929)
- 4-time NL Hits Leader (1920-1922 & 1924)
- 7-time NL Total Bases Leader (1917, 1920-1922, 1924, 1925 & 1929)
- 4-time NL Doubles Leader (1920-1922 & 1924)
- 2-time NL Triples Leader (1917 & 1921)
- 2-time NL Home Runs Leader (1922 & 1925)
- 4-time NL RBI Leader (1920-1922 & 1925)
- 3-time NL Bases on Balls Leader (1924, 1927 & 1928)
- 20-Home Run Seasons: 7 (1921, 1922, 1924, 1925 & 1927-1929)
- 30-Home Run Seasons: 3 (1922, 1925 & 1929)
- 40-Home Run Seasons: 1 (1922)
- 100 RBI Seasons: 5 (1921, 1922, 1925, 1927 & 1929)
- 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 6 (1921, 1922, 1924, 1925, 1927 & 1929)
- 200 Hits Seasons: 7 (1920-1922, 1924, 1925, 1927 & 1929)
- Won a World Series with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1926
- NL Pennants: 2 (1926 & 1932)
- Managed one World Series Champions with the St. Louis Cardinals in 1926
- Baseball Hall of Fame: Class of 1942
|Dazzy Vance||Rogers Hornsby||Bob O'Farrell|
|Jim Bottomley||Rogers Hornsby||No Award|
|St. Louis Cardinals Manager
|Boston Braves Manager
|Chicago Cubs Manager
|St. Louis Browns Manager
|St. Louis Browns Manager
|Cincinnati Reds Manager
 Year-By-Year Managerial Record
 Records Held
- Batting average, right handed batter, career, .358
- Batting average, season (since 1900), .424, 1924
- Batting average, right handed batter, season (since 1900), .424, 1924
- On base average, right handed batter, career, .434
- On base average, right handed batter, season, .507, 1924
- Slugging percentage, right handed batter, season, .756, 1925
- On base plus slugging percentage, right handed batter, season, 1.245, 1925
- Total bases, right handed batter, season, 450, 1922
- Home runs, second baseman, season, 42, 1922 (tied)
- Seasons batting .400, 3 (tied)
- Highest batting average over five consecutive seasons, .402 (1921-25)
- Highest batting average over four consecutive seasons, .404 (1922-25)
 Further Reading
- "Ernie Banks Better Hitter Than Willie Mays - Hornsby", Jet, August 21, 1958, p. 51. 
- Charles Alexander: Rogers Hornsby: A Biography, Henry Holt, New York, NY, 1995.
- Aubrey O. Cookman Jr.: "The Mechanics of Batting", Baseball Digest, May 1947, pp. 91-95, 268 & 272. 
- Barney Kremenko: "Billy Williams - Above-Average Player: How Hornsby improved his hitting", Baseball Digest, October 1964, pp. 84-86.