John Joseph “Johnny” Evers
Born: July 21, 1881 - Troy, NY
Died: March 28, 1947 - Albany, NY
Career BA: .270
Managerial Record: 180–192
Chicago Orphans/Cubs NL (1902–1912, player-manager: 1913, manager: 1921)
Boston Braves NL (1914–1917, 1929)
Philadelphia Phillies NL (1917)
Chicago White Sox AL (1922, manager: 1924)
Nicknamed “The Crab” because of the unusual crablike stance he used to scoop up ground balls, Johnny Evers (pronounced Eevers) was well known as part of the greatest double-play combination of all time as immortalized in the poem written by newspaper columnist Franklin Pierce Adams entitled Baseball’s Sad Lexicon.
A wiry 125 pounds, Evers was a solid second baseman who played on the great Cubs teams from 1902 through 1913 and appeared in four World Series, winning two of them. Later traded to the Boston Braves, he not only won another World Series, but also won the Chalmers Award (MVP) in 1914. A real sparkplug for his size, Evers was tossed out of nine games during the 1914 season. He became known for arguing with teammates, opponents and officials, which gave his nickname, “The Crab,” a new meaning.
Evers was very high-energy and temperamental. As part of that famous double-play combo with Frank Chance and Joe Tinker, he was superb on the field. On the other hand, off the field, Johnny Evers and Joe Tinker never spoke. Evers once even stated that they truly hated each other. The two did not speak for 30 years. Some say it was because Tinker fired a baseball at Evers from a very close distance and injured Evers’ hand. Others claim that it was a result of a fight the two got into in 1905. In any event, the two remained passionate about the Cubs and never let their relationship interfere with their stellar play.
Johnny Evers batted a respectable .270 over his career and stole 324 bases. He later managed both the Cubs and White Sox and served as a scout for the Braves. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1946. Evers was also involved in the famous 1908 “Merkle Boner” play, calling out the fact that Fred Merkle never touched second base and was heading back to the clubhouse. This set off a chain of events that became one of the more bizarre stories in baseball history.
– Tom and Ellen Zappala, The Cracker Jack Collection: Baseball's Prized Players. For more information on their book and/or to order a copy at a special PSA discount, visit http://crackerjackplayers.com/PSA_order.html