Other Free Encyclopedias » Famous Sports Stars » Baseball » Rogers Hornsby Biography - Baseball Hungry, Chronology, Hitting Machine, Swinging At Strikes, Awards And Accomplishments, Management Problems

Rogers Hornsby - Shuffling Around

slc season slb cubs

In Boston, Hornsby again assumed the managerial reins during the season and won his final batting championship with a .387 average. He also led the league in walks and slugging percentage. But the Braves were inept and finished next to last. After the season, it was announced that Hornsby had signed a three-year contract to manage Boston, but then he was traded to the Chicago Cubs for five inconsequential players and $200,000.

In 1929, playing on his fourth National League team in four years, Hornsby didn't have to manage, and he played in every inning of every game. He won his second Most Valuable Player Award with another exceptional season—thirty-nine homers, a .679 slugging percentage, a .380 batting average, and a league-high 156 runs. The Cubs won the pennant but lost the World Series to the Philadelphia Athletics. During the season, Hornsby developed a calcified heel and played in pain. Shortly after the World Series ended, he lost many thousands of dollars in the great stock market crash of October 1929. He had off-season heel surgery and appeared healthy, but he injured his ankle in 1930 and his season ended early. Near the end of the 1930 season, he took over as manager. Although he continued to play himself on occasion, his regular playing days had ended because of age and injuries, and he concentrated on managing. The Cubs had winning records under Hornsby in 1931 and 1932, but he was released in August 1932. It came out that Hornsby owed money to several of his teammates; he had been borrowing from them to finance his gambling habit. Newspapers raised allegations that Hornsby had led a horse-race betting pool among Cubs players, but he denied it, and Landis refused to investigate the charges. Privately, Landis said, according to Alexander's book: "That fellow will never learn. His betting has got him in one scrape after another, cost him a fortune and several jobs, and still he hasn't enough sense to stop it."

In 1933, Hornsby hooked on for a last tour with the Cardinals, playing in forty-six games. He then served as player-manager for the American League's St. Louis Browns, where he stayed through 1937. The Browns were a perennial also-ran, and Hornsby used himself mainly as a pinch-hitter. His playing career ended when he hit .321 at age forty-one in twenty games. He finished with a career batting average of .358, second only to Cobb. Hornsby also ranks eighth in lifetime on-base percentage at .434, and his .577 lifetime slugging percentage is ninth among all retired players.

Because of his refusal to stop gambling and his prickly personality, Hornsby eventually became unwelcome in major league baseball. But baseball was everything to Hornsby, especially considering that his second marriage had also ended in divorce, and he continued to manage in the minor leagues, in Mexico and Texas. Umpire Len Roberts remembered Hornsby as "a true gentleman on the field—he never questioned a decision. I don't think there was a dishonest bone in his body," according to the Baseball Research Journal.

In 1942, when Hornsby was inducted into the Hall of Fame, he was managing in the low minors. He got a reprieve when the Browns hired him as manager in 1952, but he was fired in mid-season and took over in Cincinnati, where he lasted through most of the 1953 season before again getting dismissed. In his managerial career, he was traded or fired six times, and compiled a record of 701 wins and 812 losses. In the 1950s, Hornsby coached for the Chicago Cubs and in 1962 joined the New York Mets coaching staff. Late that year, he went to a Chicago hospital for eye surgery, but suffered a heart attack and died on January 5, 1963.

Career Statistics

Yr Team Avg GP AB R H HR RBI BB SO SB E
BOS: Boston Red Sox; CHC: Chicago Cubs; NYG: New York Giants; SLB: St. Louis Browns; SLC: St. Louis Cardinals.
1915 SLC .246 18 57 5 14 0 4 2 6 0 8
1916 SLC .313 139 495 63 155 6 65 40 63 17 45
1917 SLC .327 145 523 86 171 8 66 45 34 17 52
1918 SLC .281 115 416 51 117 5 60 40 43 8 46
1919 SLC .318 138 512 68 163 8 71 48 41 17 34
1920 SLC .370 149 589 96 218 9 94 60 50 12 34
1921 SLC .397 154 592 131 235 21 126 60 48 13 27
1922 SLC .401 154 623 141 250 42 152 65 50 17 30
1923 SLC .384 107 424 89 163 17 83 55 29 3 21
1924 SLC .424 143 536 121 227 25 94 89 32 5 30
1925 SLC .403 138 504 133 203 39 143 83 39 5 34
1926 SLC .317 134 527 96 167 11 93 61 39 3 27
1927 NYG .361 155 568 133 205 26 125 86 38 9 25
1928 BOS .387 140 486 99 188 21 94 107 41 5 21
1929 CHC .380 156 602 156 229 39 149 87 65 2 23
1930 CHC .308 42 104 15 32 2 18 12 12 0 11
1931 CHC .331 100 357 64 118 16 90 56 23 1 22
1932 CHC .224 19 58 10 13 1 7 10 4 0 4
1933 SLC/SLB .326 57 92 11 30 3 23 14 7 1 2
1934 SLB .304 24 23 2 7 1 11 7 4 0 0
1935 SLB .208 10 24 1 5 0 3 3 6 0 0
1936 SLB .400 2 5 1 2 0 2 1 0 0 0
1937 SLB .321 20 56 7 18 1 11 7 5 0 4
TOTAL .345 2259 8173 1579 2930 301 1584 1038 679 135 500

Hornsby will be remembered as a hitter of unequalled accomplishments and a player of exceptional drive and focus. Though not as reviled as Cobb, Hornsby was never a popular player among his teammates. But social skills don't win ball games, and Hornsby concentrated on winning. His discipline at the plate—swinging only at strikes, and not trying to overpower the ball—became a model for many future great hitters.

Rogers Hornsby - Career Statistics [next] [back] Rogers Hornsby - Related Biography: Manager John Mcgraw

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