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   BIOGRAPHY

The "Roaring 20s"

As the “Roaring 20s” opened, Rogers separated himself as one of the best right-handed hitters in baseball. He ended the 1920 season like he would end the next five seasons — by winning the National League batting title. He also led the league in on-base percentage, slugging percentage, hits, doubles, total bases and RBI.

The 1921 season was even more incredible. He fell two hits short of the elusive .400 batting average and two homeruns short of the National League Triple Crown. Despite those “shortcomings,” he put together one of the most brilliant seasons in history. His .397 was 45 points better than second-place Edd Roush for the batting title. He also led the league in on-base percentage, slugging percentage, hits, runs, doubles, triples and RBI.

In 1922 “The Rajah” showcased the most dominant season at the plate in the history of baseball. He demolished National League pitching and exceeded his unbelievable hitting performance from the previous season. He finally eclipsed the .400 mark, leading the league by nearly 50 points over the second-place finisher Ray Grimes. Rogers also crushed a surprising 42 home runs — twice as many as runner-up Cy Williams. To complete the Triple Crown, he knocked in an astonishing 152 RBI. Amazingly, Rogers did not win the 1922 MVP award. (It went to George Sisler, who .420 and swiped 51 bases.)

Roger set the bar so high for himself in 1922 that the following season seemed like an “off” year for him at the plate. He led the league once again in batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage, but an injury limited him to only 107 games.

Rogers was determined to get back to form during the 1924 season. His determination led to one of the most amazing feats in baseball history. He hit .424 — the highest batting average by a player in the 20th century. He also led the league in on-base percentage, slugging percentage, runs, hits, total bases, doubles and finished second in home runs. However, the best was yet to come.

In 1925 he somehow topped his unprecedented 1924 season. The legendary baseball pioneer Branch Rickey, who managed the team since 1919, was dismissed after frequent disagreements with Cardinals owner Sam Breadon. Breadon then asked Hornsby to take over as the Redbirds’ manager. His perfectionist style on the playing field started to rub off on his players. The Cardinals finished in fourth place with Roger at the helm. More importantly, he won his second Triple Crown, nearly matching his statistics from his first unforgettable Crown season in 1922. This time, however, he would win the Most Valuable Player award. He hit .403 with 39 long balls and 143 RBI. This would be the last season “The Rajah” would reach the .400 mark.

Roger’s 1926 campaign proved to be an emotional year for the reigning MVP. He was retained as manager of the team, but the added pressure of being the manager from the onset of the season took a toll on his hitting. His batting average dipped nearly 100 points from the previous year and he hit fewer than a third of the previous season’s home run output. But most importantly, discrepancies with Sam Breadon began boiling over.

Despite all of the adversity, he skippered the Cardinals to one of the biggest upsets in World Series history, defeating Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and the rest of Yankees in seven great games. However, Rogers' extreme personality finally got the best of him. Rogers was very vocal about Breadon’s frugality throughout the season and demanded a new three-year contract worth $50,000 a year after the Cardinals’ first ever World Championship. Incensed with the demands, Breadon traded the superstar to the New York Giants for Frankie Frisch and Jimmy Ring, much to the dismay of Cardinal fans. This would not be the last time Rogers' unwavering personality would get in the way.
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