Biography of Baseball Greats Tinker Evers and Chance Part 2

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



Joe Tinker was born on July 27, 1880, in Muscotah, Kans. He was an outstanding shortstop and led the league in fielding five times. He was also a dangerous clutch hitter and hit the Giants' great hurler Christy Mathewson as if he owned him. This accomplishment alone set him apart from the rest of the players in the game.

Remarking on their famous feud, Tinker once said, "Evers was a great player, a wonderful pivot man. But boy, how he could ride you! Chance used to say he wished Evers was an outfielder so he couldn't hear him."

A 5 ft. 9 in. and 130 lb. in a wet towel, Johnny Evers was the laughingstock of baseball--until they saw him play. He was born on July 21, 1881, and was discovered in his hometown of Troy, N.Y., playing on a team called the Cheer-Ups. But the little Irishman exuded no cheer whatsoever, only a ferocious determination for winning. Nicknamed the Crab, Evers played 12 seasons as the Cubs' second baseman. He feared no one and was more than happy to slug it out with the biggest bullies in the game.

At night, he'd bed down with two candy bars, The Sporting News, and a baseball rule book. His knowledge of this rule book saved the 1908 pennant for the Cubs. In a crucial game with the Giants, the Cubs seemed to have lost when a single scored a Giant runner from third with the winning run. Evers noted, however, that the runner on first, Fred Merkle (who earned the nickname Bonehead for his miscue), had run to the dugout without touching second base. Evers retrieved the ball and stepped on second, and the umpire voided the run and called the game a tie. The game was replayed at the end of the season, and the Clubs' victory won them the pennant.

The later years were not kind to the trio, and all their lives ended tragically. The beanballs that pitchers bounced off Chance's skull through the years impaired his hearing, plagued him with headaches, and finally forced him into brain surgery. He died at 47, on Sept. 14, 1924. Evers became a wheelchair invalid and died of a stroke on Mar. 28, 1947, a year after the Hall of Fame induction. Tinker, the last survivor, went broke, developed diabetes and a respiratory ailment, and had to have a leg amputated. He died on his 68th birthday.

Thus, baseball's most famous double-play combination left this world in reverse order. It was Chance-to-Evers-to-Tinker on the scoreboard in the sky.

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