Rogers Hornsby, Sr. (April 27, 1896 – January 5, 1963), nicknamed "The Rajah", was an American baseball infielder, manager, and coach who played 23 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB). He played for the St. Louis Cardinals (1915–1926, 1933), New York Giants (1927), Boston Braves (1928), Chicago Cubs (1929–1932), and St. Louis Browns (1933–1937). Hornsby had 2,930 hits and 301 home runs in his career; his career .358 batting average is second only to Ty Cobb's average. He was named the National League (NL)'s Most Valuable Player (MVP) twice, and was a member of one World Series championship team.
Born and raised in Texas, Hornsby played for several semi-professional and minor league teams. In 1915, he began his major league career with the St. Louis Cardinals and remained with the team for 12 seasons; during this period, Hornsby won his first MVP Award and the Cardinals won the 1926 World Series. After that season, he spent one season with the New York Giants and another with the Boston Braves before being traded to the Chicago Cubs. He played with the Cubs for four years and won his second MVP Award before the team released him in 1932. Hornsby re-signed with the Cardinals in 1933, but was released partway through the season and was picked up by the St. Louis Browns. He remained there until his final season in 1937. From 1925 to 1937, Hornsby was intermittently his own manager. After retiring as a player, he managed the Browns in 1952 and the Cincinnati Reds from 1952 to 1953.
Hornsby is one of the best hitters of all time. His career batting average of .358 is second only to Ty Cobb, at .367, in MLB history. He also won two Triple Crowns and batted .400 or more three times during his career. He is the only player to hit 40 home runs and bat .400 in the same year (1922). His batting average for the 1924 season was .424, a mark that no player has matched since. He was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1942 and the St. Louis Cardinals Hall of Fame in 2014.
Hornsby married three times, in 1918, 1924, and 1957, and had two children, one from each of his first two marriages.
Known as someone difficult to get along with, he was not at all well-liked by his fellow players. He never smoked, drank, or went to the movies, but frequently gambled on horse races during his career.
Hornsby was born in Winters, Texas, the last of Ed and Mary (Rogers) Hornsby's six children.〔Alexander, p. 12〕 When Hornsby was two years old, his father died of unknown causes.〔 Four years later, the surviving Hornsbys moved to Fort Worth, Texas, so Hornsby's brothers could get jobs in the meat packing industry to support the family.〔
Hornsby started playing baseball at a very young age; he once said, "I can't remember anything that happened before I had a baseball in my hand."〔Alexander, p. 13〕 He took a job with the Swift and Company meat industry plant as a messenger boy when he was 10 years old, and he also served as a substitute infielder on its baseball team.〔Alexander, p. 15〕 By the age of 15, Hornsby was already playing for several semi-professional teams.〔Alexander, p. 14〕 He also played baseball for North Side High School until 10th grade, when he dropped out to take a full-time job at Swift and Company.〔Alexander, p. 16〕 While he was in high school, Hornsby also played on the football team, alongside future College Football Hall of Famer Bo McMillin.〔
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