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Austin’s connection to Rogers Hornsby, one of baseball’s greatest hitters

The National Baseball Hall of Fame inductee briefly lived in Austin and was laid to rest in the Hornsby Cemetery.

Rogers Hornsby holds a baseball bat and looks off near the camera in a black and white photo.

Almost 100 years later, Rogers Hornsby remains one of baseball’s greatest hitters.

Photo is public domain and published on the cover of TIME Magazine (uncredited), accessed via Wikimedia Commons

Right off of FM 969 in East Austin lies an unassuming — but nonetheless notable — piece of Texas sports history.

Rogers Hornsby, a born Texan and one of baseball’s greatest hitters, is buried in the Hornsby Cemetery off of Blue Bluff Road.

Before we tell you more about Hornsby and his connection to Austin, we’d like to give a shout out to reader Scott H., who told us about this landmark. Now, let’s dig in.

History

Hornsby — who was born in Winters, Texas in April 1896 — briefly lived in Austin as a child before moving to Fort Worth.

His baseball career began with the minor league Denison Railroaders in 1915. The team sold his contract to the St. Louis Cardinals for $600, but within the decade he worked his way into becoming the highest-paid player in the league, earning a whopping $18,500 (the 1915 equivalent to ~$540,000) per year.

Legend has it Hornsby valued his eyesight so much, he only read newspaper headlines — not the articles — and refused to watch movies until 1952, at age 56.

Although undoubtedly a great baseball player and brain, Hornsby experienced a series of trades and firings from 1926 to 1937 that may have been connected to personality differences and a gambling habit.

He died of a heart attack in 1963, and was buriedin his family’s Austin cemetery five days later, at a packed funeral filled with fans and family.

Rogers Hornsby's grave in Austin

Rogers Hornsby is buried in Austin’s Hornsby Cemetery.

Photo by Joe Stafford, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Legacy

In addition to being a National Baseball Hall of Fame inductee, Hornsby boasts a career batting average of .358, which is still the second-highest in history behind Ty Cobb.

There’s also a rare title in baseball called the Triple Crown. One can only get a Triple Crown if they have the season’s highest batting average, most home runs, and most runs batted in.

Hornsby won the Triple Crown — twice.

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