Johnny Evers

A Baseball Life


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About the Book

For more than a century Johnny Evers has been conjoined with Chicago Cubs teammates Frank Chance and Joe Tinker, thanks to eight lines of verse by a New York columnist. Caricatured as a scrawny, sour man who couldn’t hit and who owed his fame to that poem, in truth he was the heartbeat of one of the greatest teams of the 20th century and the fiercest competitor this side of Ty Cobb.
Evers was at the center of one of baseball’s greatest controversies, a chance event that sealed his stardom and stole a pennant from John McGraw and the New York Giants in 1908. Six years later, following reversals and tragedies that resulted in a nervous breakdown, he made a comeback with the Boston Braves and led that team to the most improbable of championships.
Spanning the time from his birth in Troy, New York, to his death less than a year after his election to the Hall of Fame, this is the biography of a man who literally wrote the book about playing second base.

About the Author(s)

Dennis Snelling is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research and the Pacific Coast League Historical Society. He lives in Rocklin, California. (Visit

Bibliographic Details

Dennis Snelling
Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 236
Bibliographic Info: 34 photos, notes, bibliography, index
Copyright Date: 2014
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7591-9
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1520-2
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Preface 1
One. The Kid from the Collar City 5
Two. Rookie 16
Three. Foraging for Wins in the Land of the Giants 27
Four. The Best Team in Baseball, But Not Necessarily in Chicago 40
Five. World Champions 54
Six. Merkle 65
Seven. A Sad Lexicon 85
Eight. Comeback 104
Nine. Managing the Cubs with Neither a Tinker Nor a Chance 112
Ten. The Miracle Braves 123
Eleven. Too Much Electricity 145
Twelve. When Johnny Comes Marching Home 159
Thirteen. The Human Dynamo That Needs a Minder 172
Fourteen. Albany, Alabama Pitts and One Last Reunion 184
Fifteen. Which Is As It Should Be 195
Notes 203
Bibliography 221
Index 223

Book Reviews & Awards

Finalist, Casey Award—Spitball. Finalist, Seymour Medal—Society for American Baseball Research
“a long overdue biography of this baseball icon…nicely balances Evers’s sports life with his personal one, painting a picture of an ordinary man at the turn of the 20th century with extraordinary athletic ability. This biography will be a good fit for all baseball collections”—Library Journal; “splendid…. The book is impressive optically as well as stylistically: layout, font, and picture selection are excellent, as has become typical for McFarland publications…valuable”—SABR Deadball Era Committee Newsletter; “Snelling provides a portrait of the man in full…meticulously researched…. The Cubs went to the World Series four times in five years from 1906–10…. Evers was the sparkplug for those teams, and also one of the game’s early innovators. He lived a fascinating life, a life which Snelling has done a masterful job of capturing”—; “Johnny Evers in his day was simply considered a great baseball player, the heart and soul of the great Chicago Cubs teams of the period, who was entirely deserving of baseball’s highest accolades. In Dennis Snelling’s new biography of “The Crab,” this basic truth about the career of Johnny Evers comes through plainly and convincingly…. [Snelling] gives us the full measure of a player whom it is now possible to properly appreciate”—Spitball; “both enjoyable and informative about one of the most talented and memorable players in Cubs history, I highly recommend”—