Last Updated on November 16, 2023 by Matt Musico
The St. Louis Cardinals are one of the oldest and most successful franchises in Major League Baseball. So, you just know there has to be a lot of big seasons from hitters over the years, right? That’s certainly the case when it comes to the single-season Cardinals RBI leaders.
There have been more than 100 different instances of a St. Louis player racking up 100-plus RBI in one year. We’ll take a deeper look at the top five before listing out the remainder of the top 31.
Single-Season Cardinals RBI Leaders: Top 5
Joe Medwick: 154 RBI in 1937
Joe Medwick is a Hall of Famer thanks to the consistently elite production he produced during his 17-year MLB career. Between 1934 and 1939, he registered six straight campaigns of at least 100 RBI. He led the league each year between 1936 and 1938, surpassing the 120 RBI plateau on each occasion.
Medwick’s best campaign of all was in 1937. He not only led baseball with those 154 RBI, but he also took home the Triple Crown thanks to slugging 31 home runs with a .374 batting average. Unsurprisingly, the outfielder won his first and only MVP Award for his efforts.
After driving in seven runs during his first eight games of the year, Medwick never drove in fewer than 23 runs in a single month. This included three months of at least 30-plus RBI (31 in May, 33 in June, and 32 in August).
Rogers Hornsby: 152 RBI in 1922
Rogers Hornsby‘s high RBI total was also part of a three-year stretch where he led the league. His came between 1920 and 1922, with the 152 rib-eye steaks he collected coming in the final season of this particular run. Similar to Medwick, Hornsby’s memorable performance in ’22 also resulted in a Triple Crown. The infielder hit a career-high 42 home runs and finished with a .401 batting average.
It doesn’t matter how you slice it — Hornsby was dominant in every situation during this campaign. He didn’t finish a single month with an OPS lower than 1.100. He hit .399 with 22 homers and 79 RBI in the first half, which he followed with a .404 average, 20 homers, and 73 RBI in the second half. Hornsby also posted a .400 average at home and on the road.
His most powerful month was July. While Hornsby slugged 10 homers in a month twice (July and September), July also included 42 RBI and a .383/.428/.752 line in 154 plate appearances.
Mark McGwire: 147 RBI in 1998 and 1999
These two years in particular were quite special for Mark McGwire because of what he did in the home run department. He combined to slug 135 taters over this two-year span, with 70 coming in ’98 and 65 happening in ’99. Those are still two of the most powerful seasons by a hitter in MLB history.
Obviously, the RBI were coming on top of all those dingers. It’s actually poetic that his RBI totals from each year were identical to one another. These performances led to consecutive top-five finishes in NL MVP Award voting and two All-Star Game selections.
Rogers Hornsby: 143 RBI in 1925
Since having just one appearance in the top five isn’t enough, Hornsby registered another year of 140-plus RBI in 1925. It’s pretty amazing that the infielder’s single-season performances from 100 years ago are still at the top of St. Louis’ leaderboard.
There’s a pattern forming here, though. In 1925, Hornsby slugged 39 home runs with 143 with a .403 batting average. It resulted in his first of two MVP Awards, but it was also the second time he registered a Triple Crown. He was once again very good in all situations, but the difference between his home/road splits is quite eye-opening.
As a visiting player, Hornsby slashed .332/.414/.618 with 15 homers and 62 RBI in 305 plate appearances. At home, he slashed .478/.565/.902 with 24 homers and 81 RBI in 301 plate appearances. That’s just absurd.
Single-Season Cardinals RBI Leaders: The Rest
As mentioned previously, there have been more than 100 different instances of a Cardinals player surpassing the 100 RBI plateau in a single season. Here’s the remainder of the top 31.
- Joe Medwick, 1936: 138 RBI
- Jim Bottomley, 1929: 137
- Johnny Mize, 1940: 137
- Joe Torre, 1971: 137
- Albert Pujols, 2006: 137
- Jim Bottomly, 1928: 136
- Albert Pujols, 2009: 135
- Stan Musial, 1948: 131
- Enos Slaughter, 1946: 130
- Albert Pujols, 2001: 130
- Jim Bottomley, 1925: 128
- Ripper Collins, 1934: 128
- Albert Pujols, 2002: 127
- Rogers Hornsby, 1921: 126
- Joe Medwick, 1935: 126
- Stan Musial, 1954: 126
- Chick Hafey, 1929: 125
- Jim Bottomley, 1927: 124
- Albert Pujols, 2003: 124
- Scott Rolen, 2004: 124
- Tip O’Neill, 1887: 123
- Stan Musial, 1949: 123
- Albert Pujols, 2004: 123
- Ripper Collins, 1935: 122
- Joe Medwick, 1938: 122
- Jim Bottomley, 1926: 120
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