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Brian Walton's news and commentary on the St. Louis Cardinals (TM) and their minor league system

2010, 1924 and the Rajah

In many ways, 1924 was a year like 2010 would later turn out to be for the St. Louis Cardinals.

Rogers Hornsby (Getty Images)That season featured an amazing individual performance by a Cardinals hitter, a future Hall of Famer. Rather than Albert Pujols, I am referring to Rogers Hornsby.

To this day, “Rajah’s” .424 batting average remains the National League single-season record. He also paced the NL in walks with 89 which led to a .507 on-base percentage that was the highest in the league during the 20th Century. His domination included a slugging percentage of .696 that was also first in the league, as were his 227 hits, 43 doubles, 121 runs and 373 total bases.

Amazingly, Hornsby finished second in the NL Most Valuable Player voting to Brooklyn pitcher Dazzy Vance, who won 28 games along with a 2.16 ERA.

Sadly, also like 2010, the 1924 Cardinals lacked a consistent group of offensive players backing up Hornsby, other than first baseman Jim Bottomley. The club had particular weaknesses at third base and the outfield.

Bottom line, those Cardinals, managed by another future Hall of Famer, Branch Rickey, finished with a losing record and in sixth place in the National League.

One way they got there was by not performing well in low-scoring games. In fact, the 1924 Cardinals had a 7-56 record when scoring three or fewer runs. That .111 winning percentage is the team’s worst since at least 1920.

The 2010 Cardinals, at 7-52, .119, have the second-lowest winning percentage in that 90-year period. In other words, just four more losses when scoring three or fewer runs would tie them with Hornsby’s and Rickey’s 1924 club.

Two recent Tony La Russa-managed clubs also finished in the worst six. 2008 is third at .121 and 2007 is sixth at .154. Not surprisingly, both those teams missed the playoffs.

On the other hand, 2009 was 13th-best since 1920 with a 25-52, .325 mark.

St. Louis Cardinals, winning percentage when scoring three or fewer runs, 1920, present

Year G W L Pct.
1924 63 7 56 0.111
2010 YTD
59 7 52 0.119
2008 66 8 58 0.121
1925 47 6 41 0.128
1999 55 8 47 0.146
2007 78 12 66 0.154
1938 64 10 51 0.156
1976 78 13 65 0.167
1948 58 10 47 0.172
1995 68 12 56 0.177
1978 90 16 74 0.178
1953 60 11 47 0.183
2000 49 9 40 0.184
1990 87 16 71 0.184
1998 65 13 52 0.200
1975 73 15 57 0.206
1961 76 16 59 0.211
1984 84 18 66 0.214
1957 56 12 44 0.214
1951 65 14 51 0.215
1955 64 14 50 0.219
1980 77 17 60 0.221
1960 67 15 52 0.224
1972 83 19 64 0.229
1959 74 17 57 0.230
1929 52 12 40 0.231
1983 73 17 56 0.233
1954 51 12 39 0.235
1997 80 19 61 0.238
1971 63 15 47 0.238
1920 71 17 53 0.239
1965 79 19 60 0.241
1993 66 16 50 0.242
1958 82 20 62 0.244
1950 73 18 55 0.247
1991 81 20 61 0.247
2006 60 15 45 0.250
1970 72 18 54 0.250
1962 72 18 54 0.250
1956 76 19 55 0.250
1932 68 17 49 0.250
1923 60 15 44 0.250
1996 67 17 50 0.254
2003 59 15 44 0.254
1988 90 23 67 0.256
1977 70 18 52 0.257
2001 62 16 46 0.258
1947 58 15 41 0.259
1974 73 19 54 0.260
1986 92 24 68 0.261
1922 46 12 34 0.261
1926 65 17 46 0.262
1994 49 13 36 0.265
1985 60 16 44 0.267
1935 52 14 38 0.269
1937 59 16 43 0.271
1969 92 25 67 0.272
1963 73 20 53 0.274
1939 51 14 36 0.275
2002 64 18 46 0.281
1979 71 20 50 0.282
2004 46 13 33 0.283
1928 53 15 38 0.283
1952 74 21 53 0.284
1981 49 14 34 0.286
1992 82 24 58 0.293
1936 51 15 36 0.294
1982 78 23 55 0.295
1933 71 21 50 0.296
1921 54 16 38 0.296
1987 57 17 40 0.298
1973 83 25 58 0.301
1989 89 27 60 0.303
1964 65 20 45 0.308
1940 64 20 43 0.313
1966 92 29 63 0.315
1949 60 19 40 0.317
1931 53 17 36 0.321
2009 77 25 52 0.325
2005 49 16 33 0.327
1934 55 18 36 0.327
1927 58 19 39 0.328
1945 63 21 42 0.333
1930 29 10 19 0.345
1943 72 27 43 0.375
1941 63 24 38 0.381
1946 70 27 43 0.386
1942 62 24 38 0.387
1944 61 24 36 0.393
1968 94 41 53 0.436
1967 63 28 35 0.444

Thanks to researcher Tom Orf for providing the table above.

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