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Jim Bottomley

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Jim Bottomley

A photo of Jim Bottomley.

James Leroy Bottomley (April 23, 1900December 11, 1959), was born in Oglesby, Illinois and grew up in Nokomis, Illinois. Nicknamed "Sunny Jim", he was a left-handed Major League Baseball player. He also served as player-manager for the St. Louis Browns in 1937.

As a first baseman for the St. Louis Cardinals (1922-1932), Cincinnati Reds (1933-1935) and St. Louis Browns (1936-1937), Bottomley was noted for his upbeat demeanor and ability to drive in runs. He had over 100 RBIs in each season from 1924 to 1929, leading the National League in runs-batted-in during that 6-year period. He was tied with Hack Wilson for the NL home run lead with 31 in 1928.

Bottomley's best season came in 1928, when he hit .325 with 31 home runs and 136 RBIs. He also became the second Major League player in history to join the 20–20–20 club. That year, he won the National League Most Valuable Player award and led the Cardinals to the World Series, where they lost to the New York Yankees. He was the first player to win an MVP award after beginning his career in his team's farm system.

He set the Major League record for RBIs in a single game, with 12, on September 16, 1924 (since tied by Mark Whiten, also of the St. Louis Cardinals in 1993). Bottomley also holds the single-season record for most unassisted double plays by a first baseman, with eight. "Sunny" is also known as the only man to be sued for hitting a home run when a fan was hit by the ball when he wasn't looking.

After his career ended, Bottomley moved to near Bourbon, Missouri, where he raised hereford cattle. He spent the last years of his life in nearby Sullivan, Missouri, where he and his wife were eventually laid to rest in the I.O.O.F. Cemetery.

A museum in Nokomis, Illinois is dedicated to Bottomley and Hall of Famers Ray Schalk and Red Ruffing.

He was the second player in baseball history to hit 20 or more doubles, triples and home runs in one season (Frank Schulte being the first) and the first of two players (Lou Gehrig being the other) to collect 150 or more doubles, triples, and home runs in a career. He is the only player to achieve both.

"Sunny Jim" Bottomley was selected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee posthumously in 1974, along with Sam Thomston and umpire Jocko Conlan.

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