Biography of Baseball Greats Tinker Evers and Chance Part 1

About the famous baseball combo of Tinkers, Evers, and Chance, history and biography of the double play team.

INCREDIBLE FOOTNOTE ATHLETES

Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance

Even today, "Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance" is a phrase synonymous with baseball's double play. It is ironic that the most renowned infield in baseball history was not particularly adept at the skill which immortalized it.

Joe Tinker was the shortstop, Johnny Evers the second baseman, and Frank Chance the first baseman for the Chicago Cubs during their glory years, 1906-1910. This trio became so identified with the double play that they were thought to have invented it. All three men were thus inducted together into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1946.

Official records show, however, that from 1906 to 1909 the trio completed a mere 54 twinkillings, 25 of which were effected in the less poetic sequence of Evers-to-Tinker-to-Chance. By comparison, the Philadelphia Athletics turned 217 DPs in the 1949 season alone.

Their success on the diamond was certainly a tribute to the skills of each man, for they could barely tolerate one another off the playing field. Tinker and Evers had a falling out in 1905 that carried over into a fistfight at second base in the middle of a game. Although they played side by side for 12 years, they barely spoke another word to each other. Chance completely ignored the other two whenever possible.

Their fame was due principally to the following poem, "Baseball's Sad Lexicon," written by columnist Franklin P. Adams, which appeared in the New York Mail in July, 1910:

These are the saddest of possible words,

Tinker to Evers to Chance.

Trio of bear cubs and fleeter than birds,

Tinker to Evers to Chance.

Ruthlessly pricking our gonfalon bubble,

Making a Giant hit into a double,

Words that are weighty with nothing but trouble,

Tinker to Evers to Chance.

The "Giant" referred to was the New York variety, the Cubs' bitter rival during these years; "our gonfalon bubble" is the Giants' dream of winning a pennant. From 1906 to 1910, the Cubs won four National League pennants; in three of those seasons, the Giants finished second. Chicago's double-play combination must surely have succeeded against New York to warrant such praise.

Frank Chance was the first of the three to arrive in Chicago. Born on Sept. 9, 1877, in Fresno, Calif., Chance came to the Cubs in 1898. He was a superb fielder, a fine base runner, and an excellent hitter over his 17 seasons. At bat, he fearlessly crowded the plate and challenged the pitchers, so much so that he was hit by pitched balls more often than any other player of his era. One day he was "beaned" a record five times.

Chance was by far the best ballplayer of the trio, and he was an even better manager than he was a player. In the eight years under Chance as playing manager, the Cubs averaged 100 victories a season while winning four pennants, two World Series, and never finishing lower than third. It was no accident that he was dubbed the Peerless Leader; Chance was so successful that he was allowed to purchase 10% of the franchise.

You Are Here: Trivia-Library Home » Incredible Footnote Athletes and Sports Stars » Biography of Baseball Greats Tinker Evers and Chance Part 1
« Biography of All-Around Athlete Richard Perry Williams Part 2Biography of Baseball Greats Tinker Evers and Chance Part 2 »
DISCLAIMER: PLEASE READ - By printing, downloading, or using you agree to our full terms. Review the full terms at the following URL: /disclaimer.htm