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Missouri

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Missouri (/mɪˈzʊəri/ (About this soundlisten) or /mɪˈzʊərə/) is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern United States, bordered by Iowa, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. With a 2009 estimated population of 5,987,580, Missouri is the 18th most populous state in the nation and the fifth most populous in the Midwest. It comprises 114 counties and one independent city. Missouri's capital is Jefferson City. The four largest urban areas are St. Louis, Kansas City, Springfield, and Columbia. Missouri was originally acquired from France as part of the Louisiana Purchase and became defined as the Missouri Territory. Part of the Missouri Territory was admitted into the union as the 24th state on August 10, 1821.

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Missouri mirrors the demographic, economic and political makeup of the nation with a mix of urban and rural culture. It has long been considered a political bellwether state. With the exceptions of 1956 and 2008, Missouri's results in U.S. presidential elections have accurately predicted the next President of the United States in every election since 1904. It has both Midwestern and Southern cultural influences, reflecting its history as a border state. It is also a transition between the Eastern and Western United States, as St. Louis is often called the "western-most Eastern city" and Kansas City the "eastern-most Western city." Missouri's geography is highly varied. The northern part of the state lies in dissected till plains while the southern part lies in the Ozark Mountains (a dissected plateau), with the Missouri River dividing the two. The confluence of the Mississippi and Missouri rivers is located near St. Louis. Read more ...

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Columbia /kəˈlʌmbiə/ is the fifth-largest city in Missouri, and the largest city in Mid-Missouri. With an estimated population of 102,324 in 2009, it is the principal municipality of the Columbia Metropolitan Area, a region of 164,283 residents. The city serves as the county seat of Boone County and as the location of the University of Missouri. The college town is politically liberal and is known by the nicknames "The Athens of Missouri," "College Town USA," and "CoMO." Over half of Columbians possess a bachelor's degree and over a quarter hold graduate degrees, making it the thirteenth most highly educated municipality in the United States.

Located among small tributary valleys of the Missouri River, Columbia is roughly equidistant from St. Louis and Kansas City. Greater St. Louis is 70 miles (110 km) to the East, and the Kansas City Metropolitan Area is 100 miles (160 km) to the West. Today, Columbia has a highly diversified economy, and is often ranked high for its business atmosphere. Never a strong center of industry and manufacturing, the city's economic base relies on the education, medical, technology and insurance industries. Studies consistently rank Columbia as a top city in which to live for educational facilities, health care, technological savvy, economic growth, cultural opportunities and cost of living. The city has been ranked as high as the second-best place to live in the United States by Money Magazine's annual list and is regularly in the top 100. Residents of Columbia are usually described as "Columbians."

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Rogers Hornsby, Sr. (April 27, 1896 – January 5, 1963), nicknamed "The Rajah", was an American baseball infielder, manager, and coach who played 23 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB). He played for the St. Louis Cardinals (1915–1926, 1933), New York Giants (1927), Boston Braves (1928), Chicago Cubs (1929–1932), and St. Louis Browns (1933–1937). Hornsby had 2,930 hits, 301 home runs, and a .358 batting average during his career; he was named the National League (NL)'s Most Valuable Player (MVP) twice, and was a member of one World Series championship team.

Born and raised in Texas, Hornsby played for several semi-professional and minor league teams. In 1915, he began his major league career with the St. Louis Cardinals and remained with the team for 12 seasons; in this time, Hornsby won his first MVP Award and the Cardinals won the 1926 World Series. After that season, he spent one season at the New York Giants and another with the Boston Braves before being traded to the Chicago Cubs. He played with the Cubs for four years and won his second MVP Award before the team released him in 1932. Hornsby re-signed with the Cardinals in 1933, but was released partway through the season and was picked up by the St. Louis Browns. He remained there until his final season in 1937. From 1925 to 1937, Hornsby intermittently managed the teams for which he played. After retiring as a player, he managed the Browns in 1952 and the Cincinnati Reds from 1952 to 1953.

Sportswriters consider Hornsby to be one of the best hitters of all time. His career batting average of .358 is second only to Ty Cobb in MLB history. He also won two Triple Crowns and batted .400 or more three times during his career. He is the only player to hit 40 home runs and bat .400 in the same year (1922). His batting average for the 1924 season was .424, a mark that no player has matched since. He was elected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1942.

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