John Joseph Evers (July 21, 1881 – March 28, 1947) was an American professional baseball second baseman and manager. He played in Major League Baseball (MLB) from 1902 through 1917 for the Chicago Cubs, Boston Braves, and Philadelphia Phillies. He also appeared in one game apiece for the Chicago White Sox and Braves while coaching them in 1922 and 1929, respectively.
Evers was born in Troy, New York. After playing for the local minor league baseball team for one season, Frank Selee, manager of the Cubs, purchased Evers's contract and soon made him his starting second baseman. Evers helped lead the Cubs to four National League pennants, including two World Series championships. The Cubs traded Evers to the Braves in 1914; that season, Evers led the Braves to victory in the World Series, and was named the league's Most Valuable Player. Evers continued to play for the Braves and Phillies through 1917. He then became a coach, scout, manager, and general manager in his later career.
Known as one of the smartest ballplayers in MLB, Evers also had a surly temper that he took out on umpires. Evers was a part of a great double-play combination with Joe Tinker and Frank Chance, which was immortalized as "Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance" in the poem "Baseball's Sad Lexicon". Evers was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1946.
Evers with the Chicago Cubs in 1910
|Born: July 21, 1881|
Troy, New York
|Died: March 28, 1947 (aged 65)|
Albany, New York
|September 1, 1902, for the Chicago Orphans|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 6, 1929, for the Boston Braves|
|Runs batted in||538|
|As player |
|Career highlights and awards|
|Member of the National|
|Baseball Hall of Fame|
|Election Method||Veteran's Committee|
Evers was born on July 21, 1881, in Troy, New York. His father worked as a saloon keeper. Many of Evers' relatives, including his father, brothers, and uncles, played baseball. Evers attended St. Joseph's Elementary School and played sandlot ball in Troy.
Evers made his professional debut in minor league baseball for the Troy Trojans of the Class-B New York State League in 1902 as a shortstop. Evers reportedly weighed less than 100 pounds (45 kg), and opposing fans thought he was a part of a comedic act. Evers reportedly weighed no more than 130 pounds (59 kg) during his career.
Evers batted .285 and led the New York State League with 10 home runs. Frank Selee, manager of the Chicago Cubs, scouted Evers's teammate, pitcher Alex Hardy. Selee, also looking for a second baseman due to an injury to starter Bobby Lowe, purchased Hardy's and Evers's contracts for $1,500 ($43,437 in current dollar terms); the Trojans were willing to sell Evers's services due to his temper.
Evers made his MLB debut with the Cubs on September 1 at shortstop, as Selee moved Joe Tinker from shortstop to third base. Only three players in the National League (NL) were younger than Evers: Jim St. Vrain, Jimmy Sebring, and Lave Winham. Three days later, Selee returned Tinker to shortstop and assigned Evers to second base. In his month-long tryout with the Cubs, Evers batted .222 without recording an extra-base hit and played inconsistent defense. However, Lowe's injury did not properly heal by spring training in 1903, allowing Evers to win the starting job for the 1903 season. Lowe recovered during the 1903 season, but Evers' strong play made Lowe expendable; Evers finished third in the NL in fielding percentage among second basemen (.937), and finished fifth in assists (245) and putouts (306). The Cubs sold Lowe to the Pittsburgh Pirates after the season. Evers played 152 games in the 1904 season. Defensively, his 518 assists and 381 putouts led the NL, though his 54 errors led all NL second basemen.
During the 1906 season, Evers finished fifth in the NL with 49 stolen bases, and led the league with 344 putouts and led all second basemen with 44 errors. The Cubs won the NL pennant in 1906, but lost the 1906 World Series to the Chicago White Sox four games to two; Evers batted 3-for-20 (.150) in the series. During the 1907 season, Evers led the NL with 500 assists. The Cubs repeated as NL champions in 1907, and won the 1907 World Series over the Detroit Tigers, four games to none, as Evers batted 7-for-20 (.350).
During the 1908 pennant race, Evers alerted the umpires to Fred Merkle's baserunning error in a game against the New York Giants, which became known as "Merkle's Boner". Al Bridwell hit what appeared to be the game-winning single for the Giants, while Merkle, the baserunner on first base, went to the clubhouse without touching second base. Evers called for the ball, and the umpire ruled Merkle out. NL president Harry Pulliam ruled the game a tie, with a makeup to be played. The Cubs won the makeup game, thereby winning the pennant. The Cubs then won the 1908 World Series over Detroit, four games to one, as Evers again batted 7-for-20 (.350). For the 1908 season, Evers had a .300 batting average, good for fifth in the NL, and a .402 on-base percentage, second only to Honus Wagner.
Evers drew 108 walks during the 1910 season, trailing only Miller Huggins. However, Evers missed the end of the season with a broken leg. Without Evers, the Cubs won the NL pennant, but lost the 1910 World Series to the Philadelphia Athletics, four games to one. Evers agreed to manage the Navy Midshipmen, a college baseball team, in 1911, despite the opposition of Cubs' manager Frank Chance. He experienced a nervous breakdown in 1911; returning to the Cubs later in the season, he played in only 46 games that year. Evers indicated that this was a result of a business deal that cost Evers most of his savings. Evers rebounded to bat .341 in 1912, good for fourth in the NL, and he led the NL with a .431 on-base percentage. Team owner Charles W. Murphy named Evers manager in 1913, signing him to a five-year contract, succeeding Chance.
After the 1913 season, Evers was offered $100,000 ($2,535,017 in current dollar terms) to jump to the Federal League, but he opted to take less money to remain with the Cubs. In February 1914, after Evers signed his players to contracts, Murphy fired Evers as manager and traded him to the Boston Braves for Bill Sweeney and Hub Perdue. Murphy insisted that Evers had resigned as manager, which Evers denied. Evers insisted he was a free agent, but the league assigned him to the Braves. He signed a four-year contract at $10,000 per season ($250,133 in current dollar terms), with a $20,000 signing bonus.
During the 1914 season, the Braves fell into last place of the eight-team NL by July 4. However, the Braves came back from last place in the last ten weeks of the season to win the NL pennant. Evers' .976 fielding percentage led all NL second basemen. The Braves defeated the Philadelphia Athletics in the 1914 World Series, four games to none, as Evers batted 7-for-16 (.438). Evers won the Chalmers Award, the forerunner of the modern-day Most Valuable Player award, ahead of teammate Rabbit Maranville.
Evers was limited in 1915 by injuries, and also served suspension for arguing with umpires. After a poor season in 1916, Evers began the 1917 season with a .193 batting average. Due to Evers' declining performance, the Braves placed Evers on waivers at mid-season, and he was claimed by the Philadelphia Phillies. Evers rejected an offer to become manager of the Jersey City Skeeters of the International League that offseason. He signed with the Boston Red Sox as a player-coach for the 1918 season, but was released without playing a game for them. Not receiving another offer from an MLB team, Evers traveled to Paris as a member of the Knights of Columbus to promote baseball in France.
Evers joined the New York Giants during the 1920 season, serving as a coach. He managed the Cubs again in 1921, succeeding Fred Mitchell. With the team struggling, Evers was fired in August and replaced with Bill Killefer. The Cubs finished seventh out of eight in the NL that season.
Evers served as a coach for the Chicago White Sox in 1922 and 1923. He returned to second base in 1922, filling in for an injured Eddie Collins. Evers played in one game for the White Sox as Collins recovered.
Evers was named the White Sox acting manager for the 1924 season, succeeding Chance, who was ordered home due to poor health. However, Evers suffered from appendicitis during the season, missing time during the year, and the White Sox opened up a managerial search when Chance died in September. The White Sox replaced Evers with Collins after the season.
Evers rejoined the Braves as a scout. As Braves owner Emil Fuchs sold manager Rogers Hornsby to the Cubs and assumed managerial duties himself for the 1929 season, Fuchs hired Evers as a coach. Fuchs had no experience as a field manager, and so Evers became captain of the Braves, directing the team during the game and dealing with umpires. Evers and fellow coach Hank Gowdy played in one game in the 1929 season, coming into the bottom of the ninth inning on October 6, 1929. In the process, Evers became the oldest player in the league for the year.
Evers remained a coach for the Braves under Bill McKechnie, who succeeded Fuchs as field manager in 1930, and served in the role through 1932. He continued to scout for the Braves, and then became general manager of the Albany Senators of the New York–Pennsylvania League in 1935. He resigned from Albany at the end of the season. Over his managerial career, he posted a 180–192 record.
Evers married Helen Fitzgibbons. His son, John J. Evers, Jr., served as a Lieutenant in World War II, assigned to the Pacific Theater of Operations. When his son was 11 years old, Evers bought part of the Albany Senators and gave him the stock. Evers' brother, Joe Evers, and uncle, Tom Evers, also played in MLB. His great-nephew is Sports Illustrated writer Tim Layden.
Though Evers and Tinker were part of one of the most successful double-play combinations in baseball history, the two despised each other off of the field. They went several years without speaking to each other after one argument. When Chance once named Tinker the smartest ballplayer he knew, Evers took it as a personal affront.
Evers operated a sporting goods store in Albany, New York in 1923. However, Evers lost his money and filed for bankruptcy in 1936. The store was passed down to Evers' descendants. He also worked as superintendent of Bleecker Stadium in Albany and spent time teaching baseball to sandlot players.
Evers suffered a stroke in August 1942, which paralyzed the right side of his body. He remained bedridden or confined to a wheelchair for most of the next five years. Evers died of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1947 at St. Peter's Hospital in Albany, and is buried in Saint Mary's Cemetery in Troy.
Evers retired in 1918, having batted .300 or higher twice in his career, stolen 324 bases and scored 919 runs. He frequently argued with umpires and received numerous suspensions during his career. His combative play and fights with umpires earned him the nickname "The Human Crab".
Evers served as the pivot man in the "Tinker-to-Evers-to-Chance" double-play combination, which inspired the classic baseball poem "Baseball's Sad Lexicon", written by New York Evening Mail newspaper columnist Franklin Pierce Adams in July 1910. Evers, Tinker, and Chance were all inducted in the Hall of Fame in the same year.
The Merkle play remains one of the most famous in baseball history. The ball used in the Merkle play was sold at an auction in the 1990s for $27,500, making it one of the four most valuable baseballs based on purchase price. Evers' role in Merkle's boner cemented his legacy as a smart ballplayer.
The 1906 Chicago Cubs season was the 35th season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 31st in the National League and the 14th at West Side Park. The team won the National League pennant with a record of 116–36, a full 20 games ahead of the second-place New York Giants. The team's .763 winning percentage, with two ties in their 154-game season, is the highest in modern MLB history. The 2001 Seattle Mariners also won 116 games, but they did that in 162 games with a .716 winning percentage.
In a major upset, the Cubs were beaten by the Chicago White Sox in the 1906 World Series.1906 World Series
The 1906 World Series featured a crosstown matchup between the Chicago Cubs, who had posted the highest regular-season win total (116) and winning percentage (.763) in the major leagues since the advent of the 154-game season; and the Chicago White Sox. The White Sox, known as the "Hitless Wonders" after finishing with the worst team batting average (.230) in the American League, beat the Cubs in six games for one of the greatest upsets in Series history. This was the first World Series played by two teams from the same metropolitan area.
The teams split the first four games; then the Hitless Wonders (a name coined by sportswriter Charles Dryden) exploded for 26 hits in the last two games. True to their nickname, the White Sox hit only .198 as a team in winning the series but it beat the .196 average produced by the Cubs.
In Game 3, Ed Walsh struck out 12 Cubs, breaking the previous record of 11 set by Bill Dinneen in 1903.
The 1906 Series was the first to be played between two teams from the same city. To date, it remains the only World Series played between the two Chicago teams (In fact, it would be another 102 years before both Chicago teams would qualify for the playoffs during the same season, as this was next accomplished in 2008), and one of only two Series (the other being the 1944 World Series) played outside New York City that featured two teams from the same city (although the 1989 World Series was played between the San Francisco Giants and the Oakland Athletics, which are roughly 10 miles apart). This is also the most recent World Series where both teams were making their first appearance in the Fall Classic.1907 Chicago Cubs season
The 1907 Chicago Cubs season was the 36th season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 32nd in the National League and the 15th at West Side Park. It was the first season that the Chicago Cubs became the franchise's name officially. The team finished in first place in the National League with a record of 107–45, 17 games ahead of the Pittsburgh Pirates. It was their second straight NL pennant. The Cubs faced the Detroit Tigers in the 1907 World Series, which they won four games to none (with one tie) for their first World Series victory.1908 Chicago Cubs season
The 1908 Chicago Cubs season was the 37th season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 33rd in the National League and the 16th at West Side Park. It involved the Cubs winning their third consecutive National League pennant, as well as the World Series.
This team included four future Hall of Famers: manager / first baseman Frank Chance, second baseman Johnny Evers, shortstop Joe Tinker, and pitcher Mordecai Brown. In 1908, Brown finished second in the NL in wins and ERA. This would be the last World Series victory for the Cubs until the 2016 World Series.1909 Chicago Cubs season
The 1909 Chicago Cubs season was the 38th season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 34th in the National League and the 17th at West Side Park. The Cubs won 104 games but finished second in the National League, 6½ games behind the Pittsburgh Pirates. The Cubs had won the pennant the previous three years and would win it again in 1910. Of their 104 victories, 97 were wins for a Cubs starting pitcher; this was the most wins in a season by the starting staff of any major league team from 1908 to the present day.The legendary infield of Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers, Frank Chance, and Harry Steinfeldt was still intact, but it was the pitching staff that excelled. The Cubs pitchers had a collective earned run average of 1.75, a microscopic figure even for the dead-ball era. Three Finger Brown was one of the top two pitchers in the league (with Christy Mathewson) again, going 27–9 with a 1.31 ERA.1910 Chicago Cubs season
The 1910 Chicago Cubs season was the 39th season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 35th in the National League and the 18th at West Side Park. The Cubs finished first in the National League with a record of 104–50, 13 games ahead of the second place New York Giants. The team was defeated four games to one by the Philadelphia Athletics in the 1910 World Series.1912 Chicago Cubs season
The 1912 Chicago Cubs season was the 41st season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 37th in the National League and the 20th at West Side Park. The Cubs finished third in the National League with a record of 91–59. Third baseman Heinie Zimmerman led the circuit in home runs, batting average, and slugging percentage.1913 Chicago Cubs season
The 1913 Chicago Cubs season was the 42nd season of the Chicago Cubs franchise, the 38th in the National League and the 21st at West Side Park. The Cubs finished third in the National League with a record of 88–65.1914 Boston Braves season
The 1914 Boston Braves season was the 44th season of the franchise. The team finished first in the National League, winning the pennant by 10½ games over the New York Giants after being in last place in the NL at midseason. The team, which became known as the 1914 Miracle Braves, went on to sweep the Philadelphia Athletics in the 1914 World Series.1917 Boston Braves season
The 1917 Boston Braves season was the 47th season of the franchise. The Braves finished sixth in the National League with a record of 72 wins and 81 losses.1924 Chicago White Sox season
The 1924 Chicago White Sox season was a season in major league baseball. Despite the best efforts of player-manager Eddie Collins, the White Sox finished last in the American League for the first time.Baseball's Sad Lexicon
"Baseball's Sad Lexicon," also known as "Tinker to Evers to Chance" after its refrain, is a 1910 baseball poem by Franklin Pierce Adams. The eight-line poem is presented as a single, rueful stanza from the point of view of a New York Giants fan watching the Chicago Cubs infield of shortstop Joe Tinker, second baseman Johnny Evers, and first baseman Frank Chance complete a double play. These three players helped the Cubs win four National League championships and two World Series from 1906 to 1910.
"Baseball's Sad Lexicon" became popular across the United States among sportswriters, who wrote their own verses along the same vein. The poem only enhanced the reputations of Tinker, Evers, and Chance over the succeeding decades as the phrase became a synonymous with a feat of smooth and ruthless efficiency. It has been credited with their elections to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1946.Frank Selee
Frank Gibson Selee (October 26, 1859 – July 5, 1909) was an American Major League Baseball manager in the National League (NL). In his sixteen-year Major League career, he managed the Boston Beaneaters for twelve seasons, and the Chicago Orphans/Cubs for four.
He was noted for his ability to assess and utilize talent, which gave his teams a great opportunity to be successful. His success is measurable in that he won five NL titles with the Beaneaters, including three years in a row from 1891 to 1893. After he left Boston, he went on to manage in Chicago where he built the basis for the Cubs' later success by signing and utilizing the talents of Frank Chance, Joe Tinker, and Johnny Evers. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1999 for his managerial achievements.Joe Evers
Joseph Francis Evers (September 10, 1891 – January 4, 1949) was a pinch runner in Major League Baseball. He appeared in one game for the New York Giants in 1913. His brother was Hall of Famer Johnny Evers. In addition to his very brief appearance in the Majors, he was a second baseman in the minor leagues from 1913 to 1924, spending half his career in Terre Haute, Indiana. He was a player/manager for the 1917 Richmond Quakers of the Central League.List of Chicago White Sox managers
The Chicago White Sox is a U.S. professional baseball team based in Chicago, Illinois. The White Sox are members of the American League Central Division in Major League Baseball. In baseball, the head coach of a team is called the manager, or more formally, the field manager. The duties of the team manager include team strategy and leadership on and off the field. Since the inception of the team in 1901, it has employed 40 different managers. The White Sox's current manager is Rick Renteria, who was appointed on October 3, 2016.
The franchise's first manager was Hall of Famer Clark Griffith, who managed the team for two seasons and led them to the American League championship in their inaugural season. Fielder Jones, who managed the team from 1904 to 1908, led the team to its second American League championship and its first World Series championship (no World Series was played in 1901), defeating the White Sox's crosstown rivals, the Chicago Cubs, in the 1906 World Series. Pants Rowland and Kid Gleason managed the White Sox to American League championships in 1917 and 1919, respectively, with the White Sox winning the 1917 World Series but losing the 1919 World Series in the infamous Black Sox scandal. The White Sox did not win another American League championship until 1959, with Al López as their manager. The White Sox lost the 1959 World Series to the Los Angeles Dodgers. The White Sox next captured the American League pennant in 2005 and, with Ozzie Guillén as their manager, defeated the Houston Astros in the 2005 World Series.The longest–tenured White Sox manager was Jimmy Dykes, who managed the team for 1,850 games from 1934 to 1946. The only other White Sox managers who have managed more than 1,000 games are Lopez with 1,495, Guillén with 1,135, and Tony La Russa with 1,035. Dykes' 899 wins and 940 losses also lead all White Sox managers. Jones' winning percentage of .592 is the highest of any White Sox manager. Five White Sox managers have served multiple terms managing the team. Nixey Callahan was the White Sox manager in 1903 and part of 1904, and then again from 1912 to 1914. Johnny Evers served two terms as manager, separated by a bout of appendicitis in 1924. Eddie Collins served as interim manager for 27 games in 1924 season while Evers was ill and then served as the full–time manager in 1925 and 1926. Lopez served three terms as manager: the first from 1957 to 1965; then for 11 games during the 1968 season, before being hospitalized with appendicitis; and then returning for another 53 games from the end of the 1968 season through the beginning of the 1969 season. Les Moss served as interim manager for two games in 1968, replacing Eddie Stanky before being replaced by Lopez. After Lopez was hospitalized later that season, Moss took over as manager again for 34 games before Lopez returned. Hall of Famer Frank Chance was hired to manage the team for the 1924 but illness forced him to retire before managing any games. Eleven Hall of Famers have managed the White Sox: Griffith, Hugh Duffy, Collins, Evers, Ed Walsh, Ray Schalk, Ted Lyons, Lopez, Bob Lemon Larry Doby and Tony LaRussa. Lopez and LaRussa were elected as manager; the others were elected as players.Rube Kroh
Floyd Myron "Rube" Kroh (August 25, 1886 in Friendship, New York – March 17, 1944 in New Orleans, Louisiana), was a professional baseball player who pitched in the Major Leagues from 1906 to 1912. He played for the Boston Braves, Boston Americans, and Chicago Cubs. He is generally credited as the player who got the ball into the hands of Johnny Evers in the famous Merkle's Boner game.Tom Evers
Thomas Francis Evers (1852–1925) was a professional baseball player who primarily played second base in the American Association for the 1882 Baltimore Orioles and for the 1884 Washington Nationals of the Union Association. He is the uncle of Johnny Evers and Joe Evers.Troy Trojans (minor league baseball)
The Troy Trojans, based in Troy, New York, were a minor league baseball team that existed on and off between 1885 and 1916. They first appeared in the Hudson River League in 1885 and 1886. After a year off they resurfaced in the International Association in 1888. They played in the Eastern Association in 1891, and in the Eastern League from 1892 to 1894, when they were replaced by the Scranton Indians. They joined the New York State League in 1899, replacing the Auburn Maroons and were in the league through 1916, when they were replaced by the Harrisburg Islanders.The great Johnny Evers began his professional career with the Trojans in 1902 before moving to the Chicago Cubs later that year.Warren Gill
Warren Darst Gill (December 21, 1878 in Ladoga, Indiana – November 26, 1952 in Laguna Beach, California), nicknamed "Doc", was a professional baseball player who played first base for the Pittsburgh Pirates during the 1908 Major League season.
Gill is best known for failing to touch second base in a game against the Chicago Cubs on September 4, 1908. With the game tied at 0 in the bottom of the 10th, Chief Wilson stroked a two-out single that scored the winning run. However, Johnny Evers saw that Gill did not touch second base. Umpire Hank O'Day, the only umpire working the game that day, said he did not see it and called the game over with a Pirates victory.
Three weeks later on September 23, 1908, New York Giants player Fred Merkle repeated Gill's error during a game against the Cubs. The Cubs' capitalization of this error was followed by a losing streak which became known as the curse of Fred Merkle.
Italics denotes players who have been voted in but not yet inducted.
|Inducted as a Phillie|
|Inductees who played for the Phillies|