Cheap Seats

On This Date in Cardinals History, July 26, 1933

On this date 79 years ago, Rogers Hornsby's second stint with the Cardinals came to an end.

The Rajah, who returned to the Redbirds and hit .326 over 46 games after his acrimonious departure seven years earlier, asked for and received his release so he could become player/manager of the Browns.

With the St. Louis American leaguers, Hornsby hit .333 with one home run in 11 games played. He didn't fare nearly as well as manager, compiling a 19-33 mark. 

In five years with the Browns, Hornsby would bat an unHornsbylike .299 -- usually batting only a token number of times each season as more of a gimmick than a strategically valuable part of the roster. 

As far as his guidance of the other players, the Browns were 255-381 under Hornsby's watch, which equates to winning 40.1 percent of the time.

Hornsby was traded by the Cardinals after guiding St. Louis to its first World Series win in 1926 as player manager -- and then holding out for a multi-year contract at the end of the season.

The grouchy slugger wore out his welcome in New York, Boston and Chicago before landing back with the Cardinals where the press had a good time taking pictures of Hornsby with the guy he was traded for -- Frank Frisch.

I wonder if it is a coincidence that shortly after Hornsby left the Cardinals to manage the other club that called Sportsmans Park home Redbirds skipper Gabby Street was fired and replaced with Frisch. Perhaps Hornsby lobbied for his old job back and, when he didn't get it, quit in a huff.

Best memorialized in the movie "A League of Their Own" when Tom Hanks' character recalled a fictional run in with Hornsby, the Rajah wasn't exactly loved by his players. Or by his bosses, for that matter.

"I played my best ball for him," Browns third baseman Benton Clift said. "I played my best time for him. But everyone hated him."

Like he had two stints with the Cardinals, Hornsby had two stints as Browns skipper. The first lasted from 1932-37 and the second couldn't make it through the entire 1952 season.

Browns owner Bill Veeck's mother, as the story goes, urged him not to hire Hornsby. But he did anyway -- and also hired Cardinals stars Marty Marion as a coach and Dizzy Dean as an announcer in effort to usurp the Redbirds' popularity and force the club to move out of St. Louis.

Despite relative hard times for the Stan Musial led Cardinals in the 1950s, they remained popular and the Browns were the ones who moved out of town. They became the Baltimore Orioles in 1954.

Hornsby was fired on June 9 after Veeck became upset with his skipper for not arguing about an umpire's call in a game against the Yankees.

When the Browns fired Hornsby the second time, the players took up a collection and purchased a trophy for owner Bill Veeck Jr. to say thank you.

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