Cubs History: Remembering the Rogers Hornsby trade

(Photo Reproduction by Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images)
(Photo Reproduction by Transcendental Graphics/Getty Images) /

Baseball and history have always had a special connectedness. A lot of our past can be viewed through the lens of America’s pastime. And, at points, it is a neat thing to look back on moments within the game and how certain events helped shape the story. Taking a trip down memory lane with some Cubs history is certainly no exception, either.

One of those moments came nearly 100 years ago in the form of Rogers Hornsby. Most baseball fans know, at a minimum, Hornsby’s name. He’s a two-time Most Valuable Player. He has four top-five MVP finishes. The kid from Texas was a true pioneer and force in the game. Hornsby spent his 23-year career between five different clubs, including the Cubs.

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When they acquired him, the Cubs couldn’t fathom the value Hornsby would bring to the organization – especially looking at the return they sent St. Louis. This package included five no-names who would never reach the level of success Hornsby found or even sniff the fresh air of value.

Cubs History: Yes, Rogers Hornsby did wear a Cubs uniform

After the Cardinals signed Hornsby in 1926, they shipped him to the New York Giants, where he spent a year before a year with the Boston Braves and, finally, the Cubs before returning to St. Louis a few years later. In return were the group, as mentioned above, of players who ended up nowhere close to Hornsby’s level of production.

Hornsby spent four full seasons in Chicago and a partial fifth. If St. Louis was the bread of the sandwich, Chicago was ham, lettuce and tomato. He caught a second wind at the ripe age of 33 and had amassed an impressive resume by that point. From 1923 to 1933, Hornsby slashed .348/.434/.596. It was no .400, but, again, still remarkable stuff. He managed to post a 160 OPS+ during that span.

Unfortunately for Boston, much of who they received back in the deal with Chicago was not close to par for the course. Long-reliever and spot starter Percy Jones seemed to be the best part of the deal as the other four quickly fell out of existence. Jones put together a 3.09 ERA midway through his final few years with Chicago. Meanwhile, Hornsby would win the coveted MVP award in his first season in a Cubs uniform – the second of two in his storied career.

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Hornsby is one of the most well-known “That guy was a Cub?” guys. It is funny, too, because he spent legitimate time on the North Side. Although it was only four years as well, it was four years well valued for the future Hall of Famer, and the deal will go down as one of the best in Cubs history.