by Liz Marsh
While perhaps not the most popular baseball hall of famer, Johnny Evers is a Capital Region treasure. Born in Troy in 1881 to an Irish family as enthusiastic about baseball as he was, it was no surprise when Johnny began playing for the Troy Trojans in 1902. He quickly graduated to the Major Leagues when he became the second baseman for the Chicago Cubs. Evers’ leadership skills and spirited attitude made him a staple of the team. Alongside of Joe Tinker and Frank Chance, Johnny helped the Cubs infield defense became almost unstoppable. Evers, with a superior knowledge of the rules of baseball, brought the Cubs to victory in the 1907 World Series. Though he was not the classic vision of a baseball player (he was only five foot nine and 125 pounds), his determination made up for what he lacked in brawns. By his retirement, “Evers played in parts of five more seasons after 1914, ending his career with a .270 batting average, 1,659 hits and 324 stolen bases.”
Evers did not spend his entire baseball career playing for the Chicago Cubs, in 1914 he was traded to the Boston Braves after acting as the Cubs manager beginning in 1913. Johnny was an incredibly valuable player to the Braves, and he won the Chalmers Award after the Braves won the 1914 World Series. However, starting in 1915, Evers had difficultly battling injuries and was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in 1917. Realizing that his baseball playing days were coming to a close, Johnny Evers began coaching.
Evers coached the Chicago Cubs in 1921 and the Chicago White Sox in 1922 to 1923 after returning from Europe. After retiring from baseball in 1923, Evers opened a sporting goods store in Albany, New York. He was married to Helen Fitzgibbons, and had a son, John J. Evers, Jr. and daughter, Helen Evers. In 1946, Johnny Evers became a part of the Baseball Hall of Fame. Not six months later, Evers passed away at the age of sixty-five on March 28, 1947. He is buried Saint Mary’s Cemetery in Troy, New York.
Evers was immortalized through the famous poem: “Tinker to Evers to Chance”
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.”
Baseball Almanac. “Baseball’s Sad Lexicon by Franklin Pierce Adams.” Accessed 17 January 2015. http://www.baseball-almanac.com/poetry/po_sad.shtml
BaseballReference.Com. “Johnny Evers.” Accessed 17 January 2015. http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/e/eversjo01.shtml
Find A Grave. “Johnny Evers.” Last updated 27 September 1999. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=6470
Find A Grave. “Helen C. Evers.” Last updated 27 March 2011. http://www.findagrave.com/cgi-bin/fg.cgi?page=gr&GRid=67537624
John Evers’ Official Site. “Biography.” Accessed 17 January 2015. http://www.cmgww.com/baseball/evers/biography.htm
National Baseball Hall of Fame. “Hall of Famers-Johnny Evers.” Accessed 17 January 2015. http://baseballhall.org/hof/Evers-Johnny
Unitec Press, “Johnny Evers Loses Battle-Dies Friday after a Long Illness.” Warsaw Daily Union, 29 March 1947. Accessed 17 January 2015. http://news.google.com/newspapers?id=trxHAAAAIBAJ&sjid=m3wMAAAAIBAJ&pg=6696,6376931&dq=johnny-evers+joe-tinker&hl=en
Youtube. “Johnny Evers- Behind the Plaques.” Uploaded 15 December 2011. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LDYzRHSyrlM.
 “Baseball’s Sad Lexicon by Franklin Pierce Adams,” Baseball Almanac, accessed 17 January 2015. http://www.baseball-almanac.com/poetry/po_sad.shtml