Cardinals All-Time Top 40 – Rogers Hornsby #4


Posted Feb 20, 2007


The Top 40 countdown of the greatest St. Louis Cardinals of all time continues with their two time Triple Crown winner, Hall of Fame second baseman Rogers Hornsby.

Rogers Hornsby

The Basics

Position

Bat

Thw

Total Yrs

Yrs in StL

HR

RBI

SB

Avg

Second Base

Right

Right

1915-1937

1915-1926, 1933

193

1072

118

.359

The Awards

Hall 

Retired #

World Champ

All-Star

MVP

Cy Young

Gold Glove

1942

1997

1

NA

1925

NA

NA

Note: All stats and awards listed are for years as a Cardinal only.
Hornsby’s career stats available from baseball-reference.com.

Voter Comments

Rob Rains (4): Hornsby hit .400 three times. He won the Triple Crown - twice, and was an MVP. He missed winning a second MVP - when he hit .424 - when one writer left him off the ballot because his team finished sixth.

He led the team to its first World Championship in 1926. Hornsby won six consecutive NL batting titles, twice led the league in home runs, four times had the most RBIs and six times had the most total bases. His .359 career average as a Cardinal has remained at the top of the leader board since 1926. He ranks third all-time in total bases and fourth in RBIs.

Many still consider Hornsby one of the greatest right-handed hitters in the history of the game.

Jerry Modene (8): Sorry, folks – I can’t rate Hornsby any higher than this, for the simple reason that he was (a) such a jerk and (b) a horrific defensive second baseman.

He may have been the greatest right-handed hitter in baseball history (pre-Pujols, anyway) and his numbers certainly are historic – as a Cardinal, he wound up at .359/.418/.568, although it should be noted that his .986 career OPS as a Cardinal is only a shade better than Musial’s .976 – and that includes the decline phase of Musial’s long career – and trails considerably Albert Pujols’ 1.048.

But the bottom line is that I like my players to be complete players, and Hornsby was so bad defensively, and such an ugly blister in the clubhouse, that I can’t rate him any higher than this.

Ray Mileur (5): Hornsby played for St. Louis from 1915-1926 and again in 1933. A two-time Triple Crown winner, 1922 and 1925, Hornsby hit over .300 15 times and more than .400 three times in his career. He still holds the National League record with a career batting average of .358.

One of the greatest hitters in the history of baseball, legend has it that Hornsby was so obsessed with hitting that he refused to watch movies or read newspapers (except to check his batting average) for fear of hurting his eyesight. Hornsby is the only player in history to average a .400 batting average over a five-year span (1921-25). Of course he missed the news, as well as Charlie Chaplin’s and Harold Lloyd’s classic movie comedies, to save his eyesight, but that is a small price to pay for baseball immortality.

Known for his bat, Hornsby was also one of the better defensive players of his time, leading the league in putouts and assists twice each and double plays three times. Inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1942, Hornsby is widely considered one of the top 10 players of all-time. Hornsby ranked #9 on the Sporting News list of Baseball’s Greatest Players in 1999 and later that same year he was elected to the Major League Baseball All-Century Team.

Brian Walton (3): Rob did an excellent job of highlighting Hornsby’s many accomplishments, starting when the then-19-year old made his debut late in the in 1915 season, making the huge step from a class D league. I just have to add a few exclamation points, though.

Remember that Joe Medwick in 1937 was the last National League Triple Crown Winner? Well, before him, Hornsby did it twice! He was one of only three men ever to hit .400 in three different seasons. Hornsby not only led the club to their first World Championship on the field, but he was their manager, too!

A few other points not yet made. Hornsby’s .424 average in 1924 was the highest in the entire century in either league. As well as hitting for average, he was a slugger, too. Though later passed by Hack Wilson, Hornsby set and held the National League single-season home run record for eight years.

While Jerry ran down Rajah’s defense, the records show his career fielding percentage was exactly league average, which his range factor was only a tad under the mid-point. Hornsby was extremely popular in St. Louis as evidenced by the mass demonstrations against owner Sam Breadon after he dealt his star player-manager to the Giants.

Hornsby at number three was a selection I made proudly. He is truly on the short list of baseball’s all-time greats and Cardinals greats.

Voter Comments Key: Voter (Individual Ranking); NR = Not Rated

Master List: To see our entire list of the greatest 40 Cardinals players of all-time as they are unveiled daily, click here.

© 2007 stlcardinals.scout.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten or redistributed.


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