Monday, June 23, 2014

June 23, 1926: Rogers Hornsby Joins The 2,000 Hit Club, Then Hits a Game Winning Grand Slam

     On June 23, 1926, Pittsburgh's Don Songer served up a seventh inning grand slam to the Cardinals player/manager Rogers Hornsby. The big blast proved to be the game winner in a 6-2 victory over the Pirates at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis. Hornsby also picked up the 2,000th hit of his career in the contest.

     Coming into that day's action Rajah was just two hits shy of the milestone, and surpassed it with a 3 for 4 performance. The 2,001st hit of his career was truly the one that mattered most, as it cleared the fence, and propelled the Cardinals to victory. Jesse Haines had gotten the start for the Birds, and surrendered a run in the second, and another in the eighth, before locking down a complete game winner.

     The home run by Hornsby was his sixth of the season, and his first longball in St. Louis. His power numbers dropped considerably during that '26 campaign. He hit just 11 homers, after hitting 39 the year before. Some say that was one of the reasons he was traded after he led the club to their first championship. While that might be the case, his contributions to the '26 club will never be forgotten. Without his bat in the lineup, and his leadership within the locker room it is likely that the great celebration after the Cardinals won the World Series later that year would have never happened. Hornsby picked up 2,930 hits over 23 years in the big leagues. 2,110 of those came as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals.

The article featured with today's fact appeared in the Pittsburgh Press the following day. I found it to be a great one as the Pirates skipper Bill McKechnie acknowledged that the Cardinals could be true contenders for the National League Pennant. He was right, and history would be made.

Check out the box score here:

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