Jim Bottomley

Position: First Baseman
St. Louis Cardinals, 1922-1932; Cincinnati Reds, 1933-1935; St. Louis Browns, 1936-1937
St. Louis Browns, 1937

On September 17, 1924, at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn, in just his second full season in the big leagues, Jim Bottomley had one of the biggest run-producing games in major-league history. He drove in a record 12 runs that day, as he went 6-for-6 with two homers, a double, and three singles.

Jim Bottomley's finest season came in 1928.
Jim Bottomley's finest season came in
1928, when he topped the NL
in triples, home runs, RBI, and total bases,
and was second in slugging average.

Bottomley was known as “Sunny Jim” because of his disposition, but he was no friend to enemy pitchers, as he posted 2,313 hits, 1,422 RBI, and a .310 career average. Born in Oglesby, Illinois, James LeRoy Bottomley (1900-1959) was a product of the Cardinals’ immense minor-league system. He arrived in St. Louis in 1922 and hit .325 in a 37-game trial. He replaced Cardinal first baseman Jack Fournier the next year and held down the position for 10 years.

Bottomley batted a lofty .371 in 1923 but finished second to teammate Rogers Hornsby, who posted a .384 mark. Besides Bottomley’s .367 average in 1925, he smacked 227 hits with a league-leading 44 doubles and 128 RBI. That year he began a string of five consecutive seasons of more than 120 RBI.

The Cardinals won the World Series in 1926, with Sunny Jim pacing the team in RBI (120) and homers (19). He hit .345 in the seven-game World Series. He is one of a handful of players who have hit at least 20 doubles, 20 triples, and 20 homers in a season; in 1928, he had 40 doubles, 20 triples, and tied for the league-lead with 31 homers.

He also led the league with 136 RBI and was the league’s Most Valuable Player -- the first MVP to rise from a team’s own farm system. The Cards returned to the Series that year but lost to the Yankees. Jim and the Cardinals were back in 1930 and 1931, winning another championship in 1931.

Bottomley’s performance began to slide after the second championship, and he moved to Cincinnati in 1933. He played three seasons with the Reds but never approached the offensive production of his Cardinal years. He finished his 16-year career with the St. Louis Browns in 1936 and ’37.

Jim replaced Rogers Hornsby as manager of the Browns midway through the ’37 season. The team was in the cellar when Bottomley took over and was unable to climb out during his leadership. He was replaced at the helm before the 1938 season.

Jim retired to his cattle ranch in Missouri but returned to baseball as a scout for the Cubs and as a manager in the minor leagues. He died shortly after, in 1959. Bottomley was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1974.

Here are Jim Bottomley's major league totals:


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