- 2B, SS, 3B, OF
- Crab, Trojan
- July 21, 1881
- 5' 9"
- 125 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 9-01-1902 with CHN
- Allstar Selections:
- 1914 MVP
- Hall of Fame:
John “The Crab” Evers was a small, scrappy determined second baseman. Born July 21, 1881, Evers earned his nickname “The Crab” because of the way he slid over the entire infield from his second base position. Evers began his baseball career in 1902, playing for his hometown team in Troy, New York. Later that season he joined the Chicago Cubs.
As a Cub, Evers became a key member of the double-play trio: Tinker, Evers and Chance. Evers was a starting second baseman and had many successful seasons with the Cubs. He helped lead Chicago to four National League pennants and two World Championships. When the Chicago Cubs won the 1907 World Series over the Detroit Tigers, Evers produced a .350 average and stole base three times. By the end of his career he had stolen home 21 times. Evers shone during his last season with the Cubs and hit .314 during the 1912 World Series. In 1914 he was traded to the Boston Braves and three year’s later, in 1917, he won the National League Most Valuable Player award. He batted .438 in Boston’s four-game sweep of Philadelphia in the World Series. In 1917 Evers was released by the Braves. He finished the season with the Philadelphia Phillies and then retired as a player.
As a player, Evers was well aware of the rules of baseball and this knowledge greatly helped the Cubs. His understanding of the rules enabled him to turn the 1908 National League pennant race around, as a result of the infamous Fred Merkle play. The scene is as follows:
The Giants apparently beat the Cubs 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth. Fred Merkle, who was on first base, trotted off the field toward his dugout when Evers realized he never tagged second. Evers got the ball and touched second, Merkle was called out and the game was tied up. The Cubs would eventually end up winning that game. Evers was aware of the rule that stated a runner on first still must tag second even on the winning run for the play to be over. Merkle failed to do this and was called out.
Evers was then sent to Europe because of the impending war. After he got back he managed the Cubs and Chicago White Sox. He served as a coach and scout with several teams and as a minor league manager and executive. He retired in Albany, New York and was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1946, just six months before his death on March 28, 1947.
Quotes about John Evers
"These are the saddest of possible words Tinker to Evers to Chance Trio of Bear Cubs fleeter than birds Tinker to Evers to Chance Thoughtlessly pricking our gonfalon bubble, Making a Giant hit into a double, Words that are weighty with nothing but trouble Tinker to Evers to Chance."
-- Sportswriter Franklin P. Adams
"I doubt if any second baseman has had so great an influence on the work of a club as a whole or has been so important a factor in its success as Evers has been with the Chicago Nationals."
-- Frank Chance
Quotes by John Evers
"My favorite umpire is a dead one."
"I don't know whether he infected the team or the team infected him, but it got to the point where we believed we could win every game and he got to the point where he believed he could make every play."
-- About fellow baseball player Walter Maranville
"A ballplayer has two reputations, one with the other players and one with the fans. The first is based on ability. The second the newspapers gives him."
- 1907 World Series, 1908 World Series, 1914 World Series, 1946 Hall of Fame, Chicago Cubs, Chicago White Sox, Frank Chance, Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers, Manager, NL MVP 1914, secondbase