Monday, September 15, 2014

September 15, 1902: Tinker, Evers, and Chance Turn Their First Double Play

   

     On September 15, 1902, at the West Side Grounds in Chicago the famed combination of shortstop Joe Tinker, second baseman Johnny Evers, and first baseman Frank Chance executed their first double play, during what turned out to be a 6-3 for their Cubs win over the Cincinnati Reds. Over the next decade the three men locked down what was considered one of the best defensive infields of the era, as they were key pieces for the club that won the National League Pennant four times from 1906 to 1910, which included back-to-back World Series titles in 1907 and 1908. In 1910 they were forever immortalized in a poem written by Franklin P. Adams. A New Yorker, Adams watched the trio turn his fair share of double plays against his Giants. The poem goes as follows:

These are the saddest of possible words-
 "Tinkers to Evers to Chance."
Trio of bear cubs, and fleeter than birds, 
Tinkers 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." 
     You can feel the pain of being a Giants fan in that poem. The trio was elected into Baseball's Hall of Fame in 1946. Some have said that the poem made their induction into Cooperstown happen. Even if that is the case what they did on the diamond should not be forgotten, and when we hear those three names mentioned in reference to a play you know it was a beauty. Unless it happened against the club you had rooting interest in, and if that was the case you would know exactly how Mr. Adams felt when he saw Tinker fire over to Evers, who turned and fired to Chance.

The article in the photo appeared in the Baltimore American the following day. The trio appeared on the diamond two days earlier together, but it was this that saw their first twin killing turned. While the article does not mention the double play, I do look at it as a little piece of history knowing that it all started right there.

I really enjoyed this short video that has the poem being narrated: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPDhWFLIIQU

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