“Tinker to Evers to Chance”

As a kid growing up in the Chicago area, I was a longsuffering Cubs fan!  Had no idea that my team was once a powerful baseball dynasty!  Over a 5-year period they once won 4 National League Championships (1906, 07, 08, 10) and 2 World Series (1907, 08).

But a particular game during the 1910 season created its own history.  A series between the Cubs and the New York Giants in Chicago ended with a Cubs victory.  In that game, Cubs shortstop Joe Tinker, second baseman Johnny Evers and first baseman Frank Chance turned a double play which inspired a poem by newspaper columnist Franklin P. Adams.  Originally called “That Double Play Again,” it was first published in the New York Evening Mail on July 12, 1910 – the day after that Cubs victory:

These are the saddest of possible words:

“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.”

This double play trio was good and anchored the Cubs infield from 1902-1912.  They have been credited with being the engine which powered the Cubs’ success those years.  That, along with this poem, also propelled these three into the Baseball Hall of Fame on the same day in 1946.

Growing up in Chicago, I heard the phrase “Tinker to Evers to Chance,” although I don’t remember anyone ever explaining it.  Yet I knew it meant a process that worked with smoothness and precision, similar to “like clockwork” or “a well-oiled machine.”

It’s a nice story, but there is more that makes it absolutely amazing – see my next blog.

One Inning at a Time,
Pastor Gary Byers
Spiritual Life Director

PS  A “gonfalon” is a pennant or banner like sports teams use.