Frank Chance, Chicago Cubs Player-Manager circa 1912

Frank Chance, Subject of Baseball’s Most Famous Poem

Frank Chance 1912These 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.”

Just what is a “gonfalon” anyway? It is a pennant or a flag.

When columnist Franklin P. Adams wrote the poem “That Double Play Again” (later retitled “Baseball’s Sad Lexicon”) in 1910, Frank Chance was the manager and first baseman of the Chicago Cubs. With double play partners Johnny Evers and Joe Tinker, the three would be immortalized first in the popular poem and later in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Chance played for the Cubs from 1898 -1912 and was claimed off waivers by the Reds after the 1912 season. A month later he was claimed off waivers again from the Reds by the Yankees. In 1913, Chance became the manager of the New York Yankees and played a few games at first base.

He managed the Yankees for two seasons, leading the team to 7th place in 1913 and 6th place in 1914.

Frank Chance died at the age of 48 on  September 15, 1924. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1946, 22 years after his death by the Old Timers Committee.

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