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Frank Chance

Frank Chance

Position(s):
1B, C, OF
Nicknames:
Husk, The Peerless Leader
Born:
September 9, 1876
Bats:
Right
Throws:
Right
Height:
6'
Weight:
190 lbs
Major League Debut:
4-29-1898 with CHN
Hall of Fame:
1946

Intro

Frank Chance managed and starred for the Cubs when they weren't the lovable losers fans have grown accustomed to today. He played on and led four Cub pennant-winners, including the 1906 squad that set an all-time record with 116 regular season wins. He was forced to retire from the game when he developed chronic headaches from several beanings. A natural leader, Chance refused to accept anything less than complete loyalty from his players. When Heinie Zimmerman, ten years older than Chance, challenged Chance's decision during a game, the Cub skipper took Zim into the clubhouse and pulverized him. As a manager, Chance demanded perfection, a trait which alienated some of his players, but produced amazing results. From 1906 thru 1910, the Cubs won 530 games and posted a .693 winning percentage - the best five-year record in the history of baseball. During his playing days, Chance was the first baseman in the famed trio of "Tinker to Evers to Chance," each of whom ended up in Cooperstown.

Quotes About

"Chance was a born fighter, a determined, able, and magnetic leader of men, who could always inspire his men with extraordinary enthusiasm, get the best work out of them, and always hold their good will. As a field leader it is doubtful if his superior ever lived… he combined all the qualities of an ideal baseball general." — NY Times, July 2, 1911

Best Season

Chance never had as many as 480 at-bats in a season, usually missing action due to nagging injuries or headaches caused by beanings. Later in his career, as manager, he played himself in crucial games and rested against the cellar dwellers. In 1946 he was elected to the Hall of Fame as a player, but he could have just as easily been inducted as a manager. He won 946 games and posted a .593 winning percentage, winning four pennants. Seven times he led the Cubs to 90 wins or more, including the record-setting 116 victories in 1906. In '06 he played in a career-high 136 games, scored 103 runs, batted .319, and led the NL with 57 steals.

Factoid 1

Frank Chance would do anything to get on base, and wasn't above leaning into pitches to earn a hit-by-pitch. On May 30, 1904, he set a major league record when he was hit by five pitches in a doubleheader against the Reds.

Strengths

Versatility, speed, hitting, and leadership ability.

Weaknesses

He was fragile.

Feats

In the bottom of the ninth inning on April 28, 1906, Chance stole home against the Reds for a 1-0 Chicago victory. According to SABR researcher Jan Larsen, it's the only "walk-off" steal of home for a 1-0 victory in major league history.

Chance vs. Murphy

Like many of his teammates, Chance had difficulties with Cubs owner Charles Murphy. After haggling over his manager's contract much of 1912, Murphy criticized Chance and the team, saying they "drank and caroused too much". Chance responded by calling the owner a cheapskate. On September 12, Chance was released - ending his days as a Cub.

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