The 1926 Cardinals, led by player-manager and star second baseman Rogers Hornsby, won 89 games to capture their first National League pennant. Catcher Bob O'Farrell batted .293 and was selected as the National League's Most Valuable Player. Jim Bottomley led the league in doubles (40) and RBI (120), while Flint Rhem had a 20-7 pitching record. Grover "Old Pete" Alexander was claimed off waivers from the Cubs in late-May, then won nine games for the Cardinals.
The Redbirds would face the mighty Yankees, led by Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. New York pitcher Herb Pennock pitched a complete game to take a Series lead in Game One. Alexander countered with his own complete game in the second affair to knot the series at one game each. Jesse "Pop" Haines followed suit in Game Three with a complete game shutout of his own, including a homerun in his second at-bat. New York stormed back, however, with two consecutive complete game victories by Waite Hoyt and Pennock.
Down three games to two in the best-of-seven series, Alexander again took the ball for another complete game victory, evening the Series at three games apiece and setting the table for an exciting Game Seven showdown in Yankee Stadium.
Haines took the ball for the Redbirds, but ran into trouble with the bases loaded, two outs and a one-run lead in the bottom of the eighth inning with Tony Lazzeri coming up to bat. Hornsby summoned Alexander from the bullpen, even after his complete-game performance a day earlier. Alexander struck out Lazzeri and didn't allow a Yankee to reach base until the bottom of the ninth when Babe Ruth was walked. With two outs, Ruth attempted to steal second, but was promptly thrown out by catcher Bob O'Farrell to give the Cardinals their first World Series Championship.
The Cardinals Hall of Fame Museum honors the 1926 team with an exhibit featuring unique items from that fabled season including the first pitched ball of the 1926 World Series, the bat attributed to Haines when he hit his home run in Game Three, Branch Rickey's championship ring, Ray Blades' championship pocket watch, Rogers Hornsby's 1926 contract, and other items including programs, ticket stubs, signed baseballs, and photos.
Other exhibits include O'Farrell's 1926 MVP award, a panoramic photo of game action in the 1926 World Series, and equipment from players including bats, jerseys, and warm-up jackets from Hornsby and Jim Bottomley.
The St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame Museum is the official repository of the St. Louis Cardinals and showcases over 100 years of baseball history in St. Louis. The museum is located inside the International Bowling Museum and Hall of Fame and is open daily from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. during the baseball season and through the playoffs. For more information about the museums or group rates, please call (314) 231-6340.