The Last Great
After the trade to the Giants in 1927, Rogers continued to be
one of the most dominant hitters in baseball. He played second base for the Giants
and even filled
in for 33 games as manager. He dominated National League pitching - once again
among the league leaders in hitting with a .361 batting average, 26 home runs
and 125 RBI. Unfortunately, personality conflicts with manager
McGraw lead to another trade after only one year, sending Rogers to the hapless
The 1928 Braves were one of the worst teams in baseball and Rogers was the lone
bright spot. He was named manager early in the season, but his team less than a third of their games, finished in seventh place and were 44.5 games behind
the pennant winning Cardinals. Rogers won his final National League batting title
that season with a .387 batting average. However, at the season's end he was traded for his third time in as many years. This time Rogers was picked up by the Chicago Cubs, who shelled-out five players and $200,000.
The Cubs seemed like a great fit for Rogers. They were an experienced team on
the rise with stars like Hack Wilson and Kiki Cuyler. Rogers delivered with one
of the best years of his career. He won his second MVP award and narrowly missed
a Triple Crown by finishing third in batting average, home runs and RBI. The
Cubs advanced to play the surprising Philadelphia Athletics in the World Series.
Unfortunately, they lost to the A’s in five games. Subsequently, it was "The
last full season in the big leagues.
The Downfall of “The Rajah”
After all of his great seasons, Rogers Hornsby finally began to slow down. He
was named manager
of the Chicago
Cubs late in his second season with the team in 1930. He continued to serve a
role as both player and manager during the 1931 season, where he pulled together
a solid .331 batting average in limited duty. Then in 1932, at the age of 36,
he appeared in only 19 games as a player. After 99 games he was replaced as manager by Charlie
Grimm. The Cubs went on to win the National League pennant, and despite their success,
they did not share a cut of the World
Series pool with Rogers.
Rogers signed on for a brief 46-game stint with his beloved Cardinals before becoming a player/manager for the cross-town Browns. He managed the woeful Browns for the next three and a half seasons to no better than a sixth place finish in 1934. In 1937 Rogers completed his final year as a player. He resurfaced as a minor league manager throughout the late 1930s and 1940s. In 1952 he was hired as manager for the St. Louis Browns, then moved mid-season to the Cincinnati Reds. He lasted one more year as manager of the Reds before he left baseball for good in 1953.
Rogers Hornsby’s Legacy
Rogers was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on his first ballot in 1942. He holds records for highest batting average in the 20th Century with a .424 batting average in 1924. He is also the all-time career batting average leader among right-handed hitters with a .358 average.
Rogers Hornsby died of a heart attack during cataract surgery in Chicago on January
5, 1963. He is buried in the Hornsby Bend Family Cemetary in Travis County, Texas.