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Mr. Hornsby would like his bat back

Just when you thought your faith in all things Cardinal couldn't get any lower...

Some jerk -- or jerks -- decided it would be a great idea to vandalize the Rogers Hornsby statue outside the northwest corner of Busch Stadium. The degenerate -- or degenerates -- in question apparently used a saw to hack of The Rajah's bat last week and then made off with it to parts unknown.

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The statue of Cardinals great Rogers Hornsby before the vandalism.

Cardinals spokesman Ron Watermon said the incident was captured on security cameras at the stadium. But he did not say if the culprit -- or culprits had been arrested. Nor did he say if he or they were wearing Cubs caps at the time of the vile deed. He said the Hornsby likeness will soon be repaired.

Hornsby, who played for the Redbirds from 1915 through 1926 and again in 1933, is forgotten by some because he played so long ago. But he is essentially the third jewel in the Cardinals' crown of elite superstars alongside Stan Musial and Albert Pujols. He was a lifetime .358 hitter -- the highest career average for a righthanded batter in major league history. He won seven batting titles, six of them in a row, and two National League MVP awards. He led the NL in runs scored five times and RBIs four, hit 301 homers mostly as a second baseman and managed the Cardinals to their first World Series title in 1926.

Rogers, not "Roger" he got his first name was his mother's maiden name. Hornsby got his nickname "The Rajah" -- which is what monarchs in the country of India are called -- from poor enunciation of his first name. In a mildly interesting side note, my license plate used to pay tribute to Hornsby's greatest season and read "Rajah 24." But I was forced to get rid of it during the gulf war when people would leave notes on my windshield encouraging me to "go back to Iraq."

Maybe they're the dope -- or dopes -- who messed up Hornsby's statue.