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Rogers Hornsby: A Biography

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A relentless competitor, Roger Hornsby--arguably the finest right-handed hitter in baseball's history--was supremely successful on the baseball field but, in many ways, a failure off it. Alexander turns his skilled eye to this complex individual, weaving the stories of his personal and professional life with a lively history of the sport. Photos. A relentless competitor, Roger Hornsby--arguably the finest right-handed hitter in baseball's history--was supremely successful on the baseball field but, in many ways, a failure off it. Alexander turns his skilled eye to this complex individual, weaving the stories of his personal and professional life with a lively history of the sport. Photos.


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A relentless competitor, Roger Hornsby--arguably the finest right-handed hitter in baseball's history--was supremely successful on the baseball field but, in many ways, a failure off it. Alexander turns his skilled eye to this complex individual, weaving the stories of his personal and professional life with a lively history of the sport. Photos. A relentless competitor, Roger Hornsby--arguably the finest right-handed hitter in baseball's history--was supremely successful on the baseball field but, in many ways, a failure off it. Alexander turns his skilled eye to this complex individual, weaving the stories of his personal and professional life with a lively history of the sport. Photos.

30 review for Rogers Hornsby: A Biography

  1. 4 out of 5

    Jay

    The other reviewers on the whole have it right, Hornsby comes across as a single-minded jerk, thinking only of baseball. Well, that's not exactly correct. As many reviewers note, he also enjoys betting on the horses. But I also noted another interest that is repeatedly mentioned throughout the book -- Hornsby likes his money. There were three things I found interesting in this biography. One was that Hornsby was aware of his money. I don't know from the book whether you could say he was smart ab The other reviewers on the whole have it right, Hornsby comes across as a single-minded jerk, thinking only of baseball. Well, that's not exactly correct. As many reviewers note, he also enjoys betting on the horses. But I also noted another interest that is repeatedly mentioned throughout the book -- Hornsby likes his money. There were three things I found interesting in this biography. One was that Hornsby was aware of his money. I don't know from the book whether you could say he was smart about his money, but the author chose to focus on his subject in part through his financial dealings. Hornsby was an investor, and was willing to use the courts to increase or maintain his wealth. Another interesting aspect of Hornsby's life was his interest in women. He went through multiple wives and there's an episode where his "housekeeper" was holding some of his money in order to hide it from his wife. Given Hornsby's gruff personality, I found his ability with women unexplained. The third thing I found interesting was personal. When Hornsby first bought a house in St. Louis, the author notes his address, and it ends up it was a block from where I lived during a summer internship about 50 years later. Time-shifting brush with greatness? Overall, I found this an interesting read of a mostly unsympathetic character. I enjoyed the financial aspects of this biography -- it's something you don't see often -- but I suspect I'm in the minority on that. I'd read more by this author, but no more on Hornsby.

  2. 4 out of 5

    Fred

    It's hard to write a full biography about a man who did nothing but play baseball and who no one really liked. Hornsby was one of the great hitters of all time. Between 1924-1929 he had some of the best hitting seasons in the history of the game. But he was completely focused on baseball all his life. He never did anything else, ever, except perhaps bet on horses. He never drank, smoke, read, watched movies, played or talked politics. He may never have voted. He had few friends and no family lif It's hard to write a full biography about a man who did nothing but play baseball and who no one really liked. Hornsby was one of the great hitters of all time. Between 1924-1929 he had some of the best hitting seasons in the history of the game. But he was completely focused on baseball all his life. He never did anything else, ever, except perhaps bet on horses. He never drank, smoke, read, watched movies, played or talked politics. He may never have voted. He had few friends and no family life to speak of despite three marriages and three children. He could not understand why baseball players would talk about anything other than baseball. This biography is a great reminder of the early days of baseball and of how much it changed after WW2. Beyond that it is a study in the human tendency to hold onto the beliefs of our youth despite evidence that the world is changing around us. It was Hornsby's failure to adapt that was his undoing. He not only wanted to be "in baseball." You could say he wanted to be "in" the baseball of his youth even after that ceased to exist.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Ray

    I kept coming across unflattering mentions of Hornsby in some other books recently, especially in Niese's Burleigh Grimes biography, and realized I didn't know anything about Hornsby's career or personality except for his peak 1924 season and that one famous quote about waiting for spring. Now that I've read his biography, I'd really prefer not to read about him again. Really an unpleasant guy, one of the types who pride themselves on "telling it like it is" even if it makes everyone else uncomfo I kept coming across unflattering mentions of Hornsby in some other books recently, especially in Niese's Burleigh Grimes biography, and realized I didn't know anything about Hornsby's career or personality except for his peak 1924 season and that one famous quote about waiting for spring. Now that I've read his biography, I'd really prefer not to read about him again. Really an unpleasant guy, one of the types who pride themselves on "telling it like it is" even if it makes everyone else uncomfortable. He also had no interests outside of baseball and horse racing. Literally none - reading and movies could "hurt his eyes" so he avoided them all his life. I had nothing wrong with the author's approach. In fact, I appreciated how he looked at Hornsby's finances to understand certain decisions, particularly how his losses at the track and in real estate (and even a hare brained Christmas tree scheme) always put him in the hole and set up a lot of Hornsby's later predicaments. Not the author's fault, it's just that this is one unenjoyable character.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Tim

    Solid biography of the former Cardinal (among other teams) star that doesn't shy away from the negative. Firmly establishes that he was an all-timer and details how the game was played in the '10s, '20s and '30s. Solid biography of the former Cardinal (among other teams) star that doesn't shy away from the negative. Firmly establishes that he was an all-timer and details how the game was played in the '10s, '20s and '30s.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Jake

    Meticulously researched yet very readable at the same time. Essential for any fan of the game.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Tim Odzer

    The definitive Rogers Hornsby biography.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Zach Koenig

    As a big fan of baseball history, especially the pre-1920s era, I was excited to find this biography of baseball legend Rogers Hornsby and expected to learn ever more about the man and the period in which he played/lived. Well, I did learn quite a bit in terms of rote knowledge, but unfortunately finishing the book become more of a chore than anything after the first 100 pages or so. One of the major characteristics that author Charles C. Alexander dotes on constantly throughout the book is how b As a big fan of baseball history, especially the pre-1920s era, I was excited to find this biography of baseball legend Rogers Hornsby and expected to learn ever more about the man and the period in which he played/lived. Well, I did learn quite a bit in terms of rote knowledge, but unfortunately finishing the book become more of a chore than anything after the first 100 pages or so. One of the major characteristics that author Charles C. Alexander dotes on constantly throughout the book is how blunt of a character Hornsby really was. Perhaps, then, Alexander was trying to match his writing style to his subject, but that only amounted to a book as bland as the words on the page. That being said, I cannot imagine a baseball biography being more thorough or in-depth than this one was. Along with Hornsby's on-field exploits, Alexander also delves heavily into the man's personal marriages, battles with baseball management, and a life-long addiction, of sorts, to the horseracing track. Every "i" is dotted and "t" crossed in terms of Hornsby's life. Thus, if you are strictly looking to learn a whole bunch about Rogers Hornsby, then this writing style will be right up your ally. If you prefer to be entertained along the way, though, please look elsewhere.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Allison Anderson

    This definitely was biased toward the negative side of his life. Would have liked to learn more about his accomplishments and journey through life.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Fred

    I listened to this via audiobook, and I'm not sure if it was the writing or the reading, or a combination of both, but it didn't really grab me at all. I could have walked away from it at any point and not felt like I missed it. Hornsby never seems to change, from first days to last, and I'm not sure why we needed the book. I listened to this via audiobook, and I'm not sure if it was the writing or the reading, or a combination of both, but it didn't really grab me at all. I could have walked away from it at any point and not felt like I missed it. Hornsby never seems to change, from first days to last, and I'm not sure why we needed the book.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Joe Desmond

  11. 4 out of 5

    Frank

  12. 4 out of 5

    Daniel Haus

  13. 5 out of 5

    Catherine Heerter

  14. 4 out of 5

    Elizabeth

  15. 5 out of 5

    Tim Nistler

  16. 5 out of 5

    Bluegrassfan

  17. 4 out of 5

    Ghiop

  18. 5 out of 5

    Arthur Pierce

  19. 5 out of 5

    Stanley M.

  20. 4 out of 5

    John Bohl

  21. 4 out of 5

    Steve Johnson

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jeff McEver

  23. 5 out of 5

    Mr. Book

  24. 5 out of 5

    Mike

  25. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

  26. 4 out of 5

    Ben

  27. 4 out of 5

    Tim Talbot

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jeff

  29. 5 out of 5

    Tim Van Kirk

  30. 5 out of 5

    Brian Pelletier

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