Hornsby and his second wife had a new son in 1925. In mid-season, he took over as manager of the Cardinals, displacing Branch Rickey, and bought one-eighth of the club's stock, as part of a three-way power struggle for control of the club that also involved owner Sam Breadon. As a manager, Hornsby drove his players hard. He told pitchers they should knock down a batter if the count was no balls and two strikes, and he fined them $50 if a batter hit a pitch on that count. Hitters were fined $50 if they took a called third strike with runners on second or third base. Battling minor injuries, Hornsby again won the Triple Crown, with a .403 average, 39 home runs and 143 RBIs. He was named Most Valuable Player, and local newspapers dubbed him "the Rajah."
In 1926, Hornsby pushed the Cardinals ever further. Relentlessly hectoring his teammates and charges, Hornsby made winning a championship his first priority. He battled a thigh infection and fell into a batting slump, sinking to a .317 average. He defied Breadon by refusing to send many of his key players to exhibition games that Breadon had scheduled in September in the middle of the pennant race. The championship was the first in the history of the Cardinals franchise.
In the 1926 World Series, St. Louis faced Ruth and the heavily favored New York Yankees. Ruth homered three times in the fourth game of the series, the first two times after Hornsby had told his pitcher to throw him something slow. As he had during the pennant drive, Hornsby kept calling on Grover Cleveland Alexander, an epileptic and heavy drinker. After Alexander started the sixth game, Hornsby brought him back in the seventh and deciding game in relief, and he struck out Tony Lazzeri with the bases loaded and saved the game by walking Ruth in the ninth inning; the series ended when Ruth was thrown out trying to steal second base.
Hornsby was now at the pinnacle of the baseball world—at thirty years old, he was the game's best hitter, and he had managed a World Series winner. Things went quickly downhill, however. Breadon and Hornsby had had a long-standing feud, exacerbated by Hornsby's refusal to quit gambling on horses. Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis was trying to clean up baseball and backed Breadon. In a stunning trade, Breadon sent Hornsby to the New York Giants for second baseman Frankie
Frisch and pitcher Jimmy Ring. There was one problem: Hornsby still owned stock in the Cardinals, now his rival team in the same league. After long negotiations, pushed by Landis's insistence on cutting Hornsby's ties to his former team, Hornsby sold the stock for a handsome profit just before Opening Day of the 1927 season.
Hornsby fit perfectly with longtime Giants manager John McGraw, who had been trying to acquire him for ten years. Both men were demanding perfectionists on the diamond, and they shared a love for betting on the ponies. McGraw had health problems in 1927, and Hornsby took over as manager for thirty-three games near the end of the season. He led the league in runs and walks and hit .361. But Hornsby again made enemies in the front office and among his Giants teammates and had well-publicized legal problems involving gambling debts. Hornsby was traded again, this time to the lowly Boston Braves for two mediocre players, Jimmie Welsh and James Hogan.
- Rogers Hornsby - Related Biography: Manager John Mcgraw
- Rogers Hornsby - Awards And Accomplishments
- Other Free Encyclopedias