View Poll Results: How Do We Rank Rogers Hornsby Today?

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  • I rank Rogers Hornsby a Top 10 Position Player.

    83 58.45%
  • I do NOT rank Rogers Hornsby a Top 10 Player.

    32 22.54%
  • I rank Rogers Hornsby a Top 5 All-Time Hitter .

    81 57.04%
  • I do NOT rank Rogers Hornsby a Top 5 All-Time Hitter

    25 17.61%
  • I rank Rogers Hornsby as my #1 Second Baseman.

    90 63.38%
  • I do NOT rank Rogers Hornsby as my #1 Second Baseman.

    27 19.01%
  • I STILL consider Hornsby the finest RH hitter ever.

    66 46.48%
  • I only rank Joe Morgan over Hornsby at 2B.

    6 4.23%
  • I only rank Eddie Collins over Hornsby at 2B.

    10 7.04%
  • I rank both Collins/Morgan over Hornsby at 2B.

    10 7.04%
  • Hornsby was a greater hitter than Gehrig.

    6 4.23%
  • Gehrig was a greater hitter than Hornsby.

    8 5.63%
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Thread: Rogers Hornsby Thread

  1. #326
    Hornsby can be in the greatest player of all time conversation with the numbers he put up in his career.

  2. #327
    I think this poll could be decieving, I'm not going to put in a vote because, while I wouldn't rank Hornsby a phenomenal 'position player' due to his slightly below average defensive skills, I would put him near the top. Maybe I'm a weirdo since this isn't even an option on the poll, but I think my top three would have to be Jackie Robinson (His numbers don't do him any justice, he was a 28 year old rookie. Had he broken in at 18, the record books would look much different), Hornsby, and of course the Frenchman- Nap Lajoie.

  3. #328
    Quote Originally Posted by deadball-era-rules View Post
    I think this poll could be decieving, I'm not going to put in a vote because, while I wouldn't rank Hornsby a phenomenal 'position player' due to his slightly below average defensive skills, I would put him near the top. Maybe I'm a weirdo since this isn't even an option on the poll, but I think my top three would have to be Jackie Robinson (His numbers don't do him any justice, he was a 28 year old rookie. Had he broken in at 18, the record books would look much different), Hornsby, and of course the Frenchman- Nap Lajoie.
    Your opinion, just like we all have but how can we just assume what Jackie may have done with a full career. I don't put much into the "what if" for any player. We will never know, we could never tell what might have been. Better numbers for Jackie for sure but Hornsby's .358 which by the way he averages at home and in all the other parks is hard to top even tossing in the all around play of Jackie or any other second baseman.

  4. #329
    Quote Originally Posted by JessePopHaines16 View Post
    how can hornsby not be the best 2nd baseman ever when the stats prove it.
    I agree he's the best 2B, but notice stats haven't settled the Ruth\Cobb debate.

  5. #330
    I do agree, I wasn't trying to put those players in a specific order, they're just my top three picks for 2B. I too would go with Hornsby all around, but I just think Robinson and Lajoie are worthy of being mentioned in the poll. I'm usually pretty firm in not giving players any 'what if' benefits either, but I think Jackie stands out as an exception here because he lost half of his career tdue to segregation.

  6. #331
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    Quote Originally Posted by four tool View Post
    I agree he's the best 2B, but notice stats haven't settled the Ruth\Cobb debate.
    That's because in the Ruth/Cobb debate, you have to compare drastically different stats.

    For Hornsby, he had better average, better on base, better power, and played the best position.

    Cobb had better AVG, SB, and sometimes played a more important position. Ruth had FAR more (unadjusted) power, pitched quite well for a few years, and was underrated defensively. Not to mention he hit .342 for his career.

    It's much easier to compare Hornsby to his competition.
    The Dark Knight is the best movie I've ever seen.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDxgNjMTPIs

  7. #332

    How Hornsby was perceived by his teams...

    Any thoughts here from the Hornsby pundits?

    From: Art Mugalian <amugalian@COMCAST.NET>
    Subject: Re: [SABR-L] Great Mid-Season Acquisitions
    To: SABR-L@APPLE.EASE.LSOFT.COM
    Date: Sunday, October 12, 2008, 2:54 PM

    Speaking of Mark Koenig and the 1932 Cubs, is it true that Rogers Hornsby, who managed the first 99 games of the season before being replaced by Charlie Grimm, was given a zero percent share of WS money by the players? I have read recently that the players voted to shut him out. -art mulagian


    Date: Mon, 13 Oct 2008 04:23:40 -0700
    From: Russell Wolinsky <jewfromthebronx@YAHOO.COM>
    Subject: Re: Hornsby 1932 WS share

    Yes. and according to Bill James (Historical Abstract, p. 583) Hornsby took his case to Commisioner Landis who ruled that the Cubs could divide the World Series spoils in any way they chose.

  8. #333
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    I'll contribute some stuff from Charles Alexander's great book, which is chock-full of insightful observations.

    "Hornsby rarely pulled the ball down the left-field line, and he once said that he never actually tried to hit a homer. "I just tried to meet the ball and didn't try to get fancy. . . . The pitcher was my target. I would have liked to hit him each time." His rules for good hitting were simple.

    1. Don't swing at pitches outside the strike zone.
    2. Hit the ball where it's pitched instead of trying to pull it.
    3. Never guess: "A Batter who tries to guess what the pitcher is going to throw is never a good hitter."
    4. Be confident: Never get the idea that you can't hit a certain pitcher." In sum, don't think a lot, because "you do or you don't."

    "You must believe in yourself," he avowed at the peak of his career. "I know I can hit the baseball." Asked many years later whether he'd preferred to bat against left-handers or right-handers, he replied with a degree of irritation: "I didn't care if the pitcher threw with his foot as long as the ball came in the strike zone."

    . . . Whenever Grover Cleveland Alexander--by Hornsby's estimation, the greatest of all pitchers--was asked about tough hitters, he always named Hornsby first. In 1926 he observed that Hornsby "has as much control of the bat, holding it at the end, as the old-time batter did when he choked the bat." Moreover, Alexander reminisced shortly before his death in 1950, "it was impossible to get him to swing at anything but strikes." He would take a pitch barely outside, then holler, "Come on, Alex, stop wastin' time and get that damn ball over the plate."

    In the spring of 1924, in a game with the Cardinals' Syracuse farm club at Jacksonville, Florida, Hornsby walked four times in four at bats, never once swinging at the ball. Afterward, when it was pointed out to him that the local fans paid to see him hit, he repeated what had already become his maxim: "The best way to become a bad hitter is to hit at bad balls."

    . . . George Toporcer also remembered Hornsby as "slow getting away from the right side of the plate, due mainly to his vigorous follow-through swing, and therefore infield hits were a rarity with him."

    Yet Al Lopez, who came up with Brooklyn in the late 1920s and was behind the plate in nearly 2,000 major-league games, recalled Hornsby's beating out more than his share of infield rollers. In Lopez's view, "he was one of the speediest men we ever had in baseball." Harold "Pie" Traynor, Pittsburgh's stellar third baseman in the 1920s and 1930s, once insisted that Hornsby would have beaten Mickey Mantle to first base from the right-hand batter's box. And during the 1922 season--according to the recollection of a sporting-goods salesman at the scene--Hornsby's old high-school teammate Bo McMillin, then playing professional football, came out to Sportsman's Park, visited awhile, donned baseball shoes, challenged Hornsby to a foot race, and lost a 100-yard dash by a good margin.

    As for Hornsby afield, contemporary and later estimates have been mixed. Over the years Hornsby gained a particular reputation for having trouble with pop flies. Branch Rickey said flatly that "he did not like the fly ball in back of him," and Travis Jackson, the New York Giants' fine shortstop, recalled the time he was resting in the Polo Grounds clubhouse during the first game of a doubleheader, when John McGraw came bounding up the clubhouse steps exulting, "It finally happened! Hornsby got hit on the head by a pop fly!"

    That reputation resulted partly from the fact that with a runner on first base, Hornsby liked to position himself well in on the infield dirt and "cheat" toward second, in anticipation of a ground ball that could be turned into a double play. As a consequence, sometimes pop-ups that should have been caught fell between Hornsby and his right fielder.

    Everybody agreed that Hornsby's forte as an infielder was in turning the double play. He made himself into an absolute master at getting to and across the base, taking the throw from the shortstop or third baseman with only the instep of his left foot in contact with the bag, and delivering the ball to the first baseman with an almost unerringly accurate flip across his chest. (Occasionally, some insisted, he didn't even bother to look to first when he got rid of the ball.)

    Hornsby demanded perfect execution from his left-side infielders. "You throw that goddamn ball right at my chest," he instructed Elwood "Woody" English, Chicago's young shortstop, when Hornsby joined the Cubs in 1929, "Not above, not below." Decades after he stopped playing, Hornsby couldn't understand why present-day second basemen straddled the bag, pivoted incorrectly on the double play, and put themselves in the way of base runners intent on preventing an in-time throw to first". (Rogers Hornsby: A Biography, by Charles C. Alexander, 1995, pp. 93-96.)

    I remember reading where John McGraw, on finally obtaining Hornsby as one of his players, was watching him work out in the field. McGraw kept hitting popups to him to help him correct his 'problem'.

    After the session, Hornsby came in to the bench and McGraw told him, "I'm going to insure your head for a million dollars against popups."

  9. #334
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    Warts and all, Hornsby was the best RH hitter of all time, and the best 2B of all time.

    Hornsby has the highest lifetime OWP of any RH hitter ever to play the game.

    Hornsby is the greatest offensive 2B ever to play the game, and by a wide margin. He was over .100 points better in OWP for his career than either Collins or Morgan. He was not a great defensive second baseman, but he was at league average for fielding percentage; his range factors were slightly below average. Do Collins and Morgan have enough defensive value to overcome over .100 in Offensive Winning Percentage? That's a lot of offense to make up for.
    "I do not care if half the league strikes. Those who do it will encounter quick retribution. All will be suspended and I don't care if it wrecks the National League for five years. This is the United States of America and one citizen has as much right to play as another. The National League will go down the line with Robinson whatever the consequences. You will find if you go through with your intention that you have been guilty of complete madness."

    NL President Ford Frick, 1947

  10. #335
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    Roy J. Stockton who covered Hornsby's career in St. Louis:
    "He was a steady fielder of ground balls, had a good arm, good baseball instinct, and was one of the best double-play second baseman we ever saw in action. He threw straight across his letters on the double-play relay to second base and got the ball away quickly and with consistent accuracy.

    "Hornsby has been described occassionally, and especially by baseball men who did not see him play much, if at all, as being weak on pop flies. The thing grew into a myth, and now you will hear men who never saw the Rajah in a player's uniform guffaw and say that Hornsby absolutely couldn't catch a pop fly, that he always called for the first baseman or the shortstop. That was not true. We saw Horsby daily during his great years with the Cardinals, and we can't remember a single game that he lost by dropping or failing to get under a pop fly. And to add a word, Hornsby was to be excused if he was not too familiar with pop flies - he hit so few of them."

    Hornsby in action:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AS_41CQ0fp8
    "Batting slumps? I never had one. When a guy hits .358, he doesn't have slumps."

    Rogers Hornsby, 1961

  11. #336
    Quote Originally Posted by Bill Burgess View Post
    Just like I was able to screw my own head on straight where Babe Ruth was concerned. All it takes is a little time, and a little help from one's friends.
    You still need some more help on this. Like 3 more notches of help.

  12. #337
    Quote Originally Posted by deadball-era-rules View Post
    I do agree, I wasn't trying to put those players in a specific order, they're just my top three picks for 2B. I too would go with Hornsby all around, but I just think Robinson and Lajoie are worthy of being mentioned in the poll. I'm usually pretty firm in not giving players any 'what if' benefits either, but I think Jackie stands out as an exception here because he lost half of his career tdue to segregation.
    According to win shares it's very close between Collins, Morgan and Hornsby, but Hornsby's fairly short career for an immortal player sort of drops him a bit. Collins seems like the right choice to me, even though Bill James goes with Morgan.

    Lajoie's best 5 consecutive seasons are clearly below the other three guys, who are just about tied in the 190s. The numbers are so close on peak between Collins and Morgan that I think Collins should get it for his longevity, which would be even more pronounced if they had been play 162 game seasons in his day. He would have played the equivelent of another full season.

  13. #338
    Haven't read the entire thread yet, so this may have already been mentioned. One Hornsby story I liked was his $50 fines for any batter who took a called third strike with a runner in scoring position, or any pitcher who threw a strike with an 0-2 count.

  14. #339
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    Trolling for votes to the poll.

  15. #340
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    During the 20s Hornsby was known to have offered to race anybody in the NL for $500.00.Nobody accepted the bet.

  16. #341
    Quote Originally Posted by SHOELESSJOE3 View Post
    It's very obvious that Bill James dislikes Hornsby and thats putting it mildly so why should we believe his ranking of Hornsby is free of any bias.

    He can call his a horses ass, talk about any flaws in his fielding and anything else he thinks negative about Hornsby. He can factor all that goes into ranking Hornsby when ranking him with other second basemen, hitting, base running, fielding and that club house cancer that is impossible to put a negative value on, tell all the horror stories any poster likes.

    But when Bill James talks from the wrong end says that he doesn't think Hornsby was the best offensive second basemen................ well, what can be said.

    He talks about Hornsby playing most of his career in the best two hitters parks in the NL. That may be true but look at how he did away from home.

    Batted .358 on the road.
    He holds the NL road average for one season, 419 in 1921 also .405 in 1920, .400 in 1922 and .401 in 1928. I believe only Ty Cobb had more .400 seasons on the road but we're dealing with Hornsby here and James comments.

    He had the highest NL road OBA for one season with .505 in 1928 , since broken by Barry Bonds.

    He had the highest career NL road OBA with .430, possible Barry may have topped this, probably not by much.

    He held the highest career NL road slugging average with .565. Bonds probably topped this one, did not check but look who were putting next to Hornsby the middle infielder, Barry Bonds.

    Where does James get the notion that Hornsby was not the best offensive second baseman and than base it on his home parks, looks great on the road.

    Face the fact that James will never give Hornsby his due. He should play the part of a real baseball man, historian and leave personal feelings outside when ranking ball players.
    Bringing this post up for review

  17. #342
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    Quote Originally Posted by SavoyBG View Post
    The numbers are so close on peak between Collins and Morgan that I think Collins should get it for his longevity, which would be even more pronounced if they had been play 162 game seasons in his day. He would have played the equivelent of another full season.
    If numbers are that close, I would give it to the modern guy. I would think the league quality had to be higher during Morgan's days than Collins'. Heck, Morgan would not have even been allowed to play in Collins' days; that alone is enough for me to think that the league was weaker back then.

  18. #343
    Looking for a news article, if it even exists dealing with Hornsby.

    Supposedly no one ever cleared the barrier, the clubhouse in centerfield at Baker Bowl. I did see two print articles that claim that Hornsby hit a drive that went through a window of the clubhouse. If I recall it was 408 feet to the clubhouse, not sure how high the window was.

    What I usually do when reading such articles, go to the most reliable source, Proquest newspaper game recaps.
    Game recaps are not hand me down stories, a recap the day after the game was played.
    It is possible that a game recap might not even mention that.
    Last edited by SHOELESSJOE3; 03-03-2012 at 04:25 AM.

  19. #344
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    I think Hornsby's pure hitting ability has him winning the title of the best 2nd baseman. I have Hornsby over Collins and Morgan due to his insane hitting, even though Morgan and Collins were more well-rounded. Nap Lajoie is the Wild Card to me. Nap Lajoie was a great fielder during his day. His 8.6 defensive WAR seems to back this up and it tops the the guys above by a healthy margin. I will go out on a limb and say that Lajoie's 8.6 defensive WAR is in the top 5 all-time for 2nd baseman. Lajoie also stole 380 bases. Also, Lajoie was a really good Dead Ball hitter. From 1897-1912, Lajoie hit .352 while averaging 48 doubles, 12 triples, and 27 stolens bases per 162 games played. I think that in the Dead Ball era, Lajoie would beat Hornsby pretty badly. However, Hornsby's Live Ball stats were insane. Even though Lajoie was a bulky guy that ripped the cover off the ball, I can't see him hitting .380 with 30 HRs a year in the Live Ball era like Hornsby did. But then again, who knows. Since Lajoie didn't play some time in the Live Ball era, I can't give him credit for something he didn't do. Thus, Hornsby wins. But I think Lajoie may be the most underrated player out there.

  20. #345
    Quote Originally Posted by Joltin' Joe View Post
    If numbers are close, I would give it to the modern guy.
    You really kinda have to, if you're an intellectually honest person, don't you?

    Guys like Hornsby played in bandbox parks like St. Louis and Philadelphia...against pitching that must have been quite poor towards the bottom third of the league, relative to players of the modern era. This seems to be obliquely evidenced by their own relative performance against the bad teams, in the smallest parks.

    Hornsby's career line (158 games) in the Baker Bowl was .399/.482/.654. Yes, he hit .399 in a full season in a (supposed) Major League Park. That's as a visiting player.

    Hornsby's career line in St. Louis (574 games) was .392/.467/.660. The point being no slugger of recent decades could possibly have that kind of career line over 4 full seasons' worth of games in one park.

    It stands to reason that the parks are much more symmetrical and reasonable, and the opposing pitching/defense is much better today. It's either that.....or you have to conclude that the pre-integration players were simply superhuman compared to modern players, and the hitters of today just pale by comparison...

    Which conclusion is more reasonable and supported by all the other evidence?

    Just for yuks, here's a few other players' career lines as visitors in Sportsman's Park:
    Gehrig: .360/.486/.717
    Foxx: .343/.457/.659
    Ted Williams: .399/.531/.750
    Dimaggio: .389/.464/.759
    Last edited by csh19792001; 11-29-2012 at 04:51 PM.

  21. #346
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    Quote Originally Posted by csh19792001 View Post
    ---------
    where you been old buddy!!!!
    "Everyone left here, but I remain at my post, documenting my sports writers and photos. I don't do Ty Cobb anymore. I did for him everything I could do. Work will live on. Personalities will fade.

    Fever members come and go. Not relevant. Your documentations will live FOREVER, my brother. That outweighs all the Fever jack-asses. Ignore what you must, document all you can."
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  22. #347
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    Quote Originally Posted by csh19792001 View Post
    You really kinda have to, {If numbers are close, I would give it to the modern guy.} if you're an intellectually honest person, don't you?

    Guys like Hornsby played in bandbox parks like St. Louis and Philadelphia...against pitching that must have been quite poor towards the bottom third of the league, relative to players of the modern era. This seems to be obliquely evidenced by their own relative performance against the bad teams, in the smallest parks.

    Hornsby's career line (158 games) in the Baker Bowl was .399/.482/.654 Yes, he hit .399 in a full season in a (supposed) Major League ParkThat's as a visiting player

    [Hornsby's career line in St. Louis (574 games) was .392/.467/.660 The point being no slugger of recent decades could possibly have that kind of career line over 4 full seasons' worth of games in one park.

    It stands to reason that the parks are much more symmetrical and reasonable, and the opposing pitching/defense is much better today. It's either that.....or you have to conclude that the pre-integration players were simply superhuman compared to modern players, and the hitters of today just pale by comparison

    Which conclusion is more reasonable and supported by all the other evidence?

    Just for yuks, here's a few other players' career lines as visitors in Sportsman's Park:
    Gehrig: .360/.486/.717
    Foxx: .343/.457/.659
    Ted Williams: .399/.531/.750
    Dimaggio: .389/.464/.759
    According your theory, players performance will then always depreciate as time goes by. Then Albert Pujols will be looked at as a scrub 50 years from now. I don't buy that. Also, I assume the entire league got to hit in the parks that you note.

  23. #348
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    Quote Originally Posted by JR Hart View Post
    According your theory, players performance will then always depreciate as time goes by. Then Albert Pujols will be looked at as a scrub 50 years from now. I don't buy that. Also, I assume the entire league got to hit in the parks that you note.
    As with anything, we are left to discuss and put things into perspective. More specialized relief pitching, a smaller zone, and smaller fields, etc. Every factor influences other factors, points, counterpoints, the sharing of ideas and opinions continue on until the day we die.

    Remember, the entire league got to hit in that park for some games here and there. Not for 77 home games a year. Big difference. That's why Chris posted visitors' numbers. If THOSE players, had THAT park for 77 games per season, what would their overall numbers look like? Ask yourself.
    "Everyone left here, but I remain at my post, documenting my sports writers and photos. I don't do Ty Cobb anymore. I did for him everything I could do. Work will live on. Personalities will fade.

    Fever members come and go. Not relevant. Your documentations will live FOREVER, my brother. That outweighs all the Fever jack-asses. Ignore what you must, document all you can."
    - Bill Burgess

  24. #349
    Quote Originally Posted by Sultan_1895-1948 View Post
    where you been old buddy!!!!
    Randy! I was going to ask you the same thing, old buddy!

  25. #350
    Quote Originally Posted by JR Hart View Post
    According your theory, players performance will then always depreciate as time goes by. Then Albert Pujols will be looked at as a scrub 50 years from now. I don't buy that. Also, I assume the entire league got to hit in the parks that you note.
    So you think Hornsby would hit .392 today for his career in St. Louis? .399 over 160 career games in Philadelphia? Or .400 over a 5 year span?

    Pujols won't ever be a scrub! He's the best hitter and the best player of this century. He has a better case than anyone as being the best hitter since Ted Williams.

    Re: players of pre integration ball dominating much more....Why do you think it is the greatest hitters of the past several decades can't even come close to these kind of video game numbers that Rogers Hornsby put up? Why is it that we had 15 .400 seasons from 1901-1941, and 0 from 1941-2012?

    It isn't my "theory" that athletes have improved exponentially in performance, on average, during the past century. It holds true in every other sport, and while baseball is less purely physical than track, football, weight lifting, etc. etc., the game is still very much improved by the average player being vastly bigger/faster/stronger/better trained.

    In my heart, Ty Cobb and Babe Ruth are easily the greatest two ballplayers that ever lived- in either order- it's mainly a matter of style/team allegiance who is #1. There's an absolute lore and awe to those two that gets me. I'm a sentimentalist and a historian, and those two are considered deities in my family and to some of the people I care about and admire the most.

    Logically, though? Using only my mind, with all emotion and sentimentality removed? The greatest player in history has to be Willie Mays.
    Last edited by csh19792001; 11-30-2012 at 02:39 PM.

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