Tinker to Evers to Chance, Glory Days & Swan Songs
Introduced: June, 2015
Tinker to Evers to Chance Challenge: Collect these six cards featuring history’s most famous double play combination.
Tinker to Evers to Chance, Glory Days & Swan Songs: A Brief History
- Joe Tinker, 1902-1916
- Johnny Evers, 1902-1929
- Frank Chance, 1898-1914
Here we pay tribute to three of the game’s all-time greats, the trio of infielders who gained immortality as a decade-long double-play combination with the Cubs before each went on to his own renown. Evers famously played for and managed Boston’s Braves to their miraculous 1914 comeback and Series sweep; Tinker piloted the renegade Federal League’s Chicago entry to a title in 1915; and Chance left the Cubs as the highest-paid player in MLB and went on to leave his managerial impact on both major and minor league clubs.
- In 1946, Cooperstown’s Veterans Committee assured the three would enter baseball immortality entwined as one, the double-play combo for the ages, swept upon the inspired doggerel of Franklin Pierce Adams
- Adams’ 8-line poem, Baseball’s Sad Lexicon, was originally published in the New York Evening Mail on July 12, 1910 under the title That Double Play Again
“Tinker to Evers to Chance”
Trio of bear cubs, and fleeter than birds,
Tinker and Evers and Chance.
Ruthlessly pricking our gonfalon bubble,
Making a Giant hit into a double-
Words that are heavy with nothing but trouble:
“Tinker to evers to Chance.”
- In 1946, Adams wrote of the poem: “I wrote that double play thing for the New York Evening Mail in July 1910. I was the only Cub rooter in the Polo Grounds press box. I wrote that piece because I wanted to get out to the game, and the foreman of the composing room at the Mail said I needed 8 lines to fill. The next day (an editor) said that no matter what else I ever wrote, I would be known as the guy that wrote those 8 lines. And they weren’t much good, at that.”
- Ironically, researchers have determined that Tinker, Evers and Chance turned just 54 double plays in 770 games played together
- Following an on field fistfight between Tinker and Evers in 1905, some reports claim that the two didn’t speak to each other for another 33 years. However, they did perform a theatrical routine together for a 10 week stretch in 1929
- According to the Pittsburg Press, August 5 of 1911, Tinker was “fined $150 and suspended for the rest of the playing season, manager Frank Chance charging him with gross indifference on the playing field and with rank insubordination.” Chance reinstated Tinker two days later.
- Each man suffered personal adversity during and after his years with the Cubs:
- As a baseballer, Chance took too many pitches to the head; as a renowned offseason prizefighter, he took too many punches to the head; years of head trauma resulted in life-threatening blood clots in his brain. Such health complications would plague Chance the remainder of his life and he died young at age 47.
- Evers broke a leg, perhaps costing the Cubs the title in 1910, and suffered a nervous breakdown in 1911. According to the same Pittsburg Press article of August 5, 1911 from above, “Evers is out of the game indefinitely, suffering from nervous prostration. He may never play again.”
- Tinker’s first wife committed suicide with a gunshot to the head on Christmas Day, 1923
- Despite enjoying financial success after retiring from baseball, Evers and Tinker both lost their fortunes during the Great Depression, returning to baseball from economic calamity
Tinker to Evers to Chance, Glory Days & Swan Songs: Your Rewards
Reward 1: One free card from the current Ars Longa Redemption Series
Reward 2: One free exclusive Diamond Heads ’15 card of Franklin Pierce Adams, author of Baseball’s Sad Lexicon
Reward 3: Your chosen inscription to be displayed on a virtual Loving Cup below (optional)