Image Credit: Daniel Solzman
Second Base – Rogers Horsnby
Ah the ole no number guy. Rogers Hornsby spent 13 seasons in St. Louis with the Cardinals (1915-1926 and 1933). Hornsby is definitely the best to ever play the position of second base for the Cardinals and is one of the all time greats at the position period. While not much is known about him these days with eye witnesses being few and far between, what is universally know is that Hornsby was a great hitter, as evidenced by his .358 career batting average and 703 extra-base hits (367 doubles, 193 homers, 143 triples), which is third best in team history.
The game was much more of a contact player’s game back then, as evidenced by Horsby’s 177 OPS+ as a Cardinal. Hornsby’s best season ever came in 1924, where as a 28 year old he led the league in all three slash categories, with a slash of .424/.507/.696 with 82 extra-base hits (43 doubles, 25 homers, and 14 triples, posting a 12.1 WAR. Just absolutely crazy numbers, as evidenced by Hornsby’s 222 OPS+.
What’s even crazier is that this led to Hornsby finishing second for the NL MVP that year to Dazzy Vance who posted a darn good pitching performance of 28-6 with a 2.16 ERA, good for a 10.1 WAR. Hornsby had another great year the following year where his 39 home runs and league leading slash, led him to winning the 1925 NL MVP award.
It’s pretty safe to say that these numbers from a second basemen are pretty good and pretty unattainable for a player to hit again. The only disappointing part to Hornsby’s career is that he did play a total of nine seasons not wearing a Cardinals’ uniform (including four seasons with the Chicago Cubs). However, Hornsby’s place in the Cardinals’ hall of fame and number er logo being retired gives reason to believe that Pujols could one day have the same honor.
Next: Shortstop - Ozzie Smith