On this date 86 years ago one Hall of Famer replaced another as manager of the Cardinals.
Branch Rickey, who guided the Cardinals to a 13-25 mark, was relieved on his on-field duties by owner Sam Breadon -- but he remained with the club as general manager. Rickey was replaced by his superstar slugger Rogers Hornsby who led the Cardinals to a 64-51 record the rest of the way. In his first full season at the helm in 1926 Hornsby led the Redbirds to their first World Series championship.
Rickey, an executive with the Browns, Cardinals and Dodgers is best known for breaking baseball's race barrier by signing Jackie Robinson while he was with Brooklyn. But he also is responsible for creating baseball's minor league player development system.
While Rickey was with St. Louis, the Cardinals purchased control of several minor league clusn ans contractually agreed to send prospects to several others to create a stepped "farm" system through which the ballplayers would rise to the major league team.
The new system was largely responsible for the success of the Cardinals from the mid 1920s through the 1940s when the team won nine pennants and six World Series.
Hornsby, then 29, didn't seem to be negatively impacted by the additional responsibilities. He went on to hit .403 with 39 homers and 143 RBIs that season, leading the National League in all three categories. That makes him the only player-manager in major league history to win the triple crown.
At the time of the managerial switch, the St. Louis second baseman was hitting .365 with 11 homers. He cracked a solo shot on his first day as skipper. But the Cardinals lost 4-1 to the Pirates.