Yesterday, I mentioned the greatness of the 1908 Cubs. Much has been made of the 102+ year World Series Champion drought the Cubs have experienced, and as a result, many people are not aware of the true greatness of the 1908 Cubs.
(Side note: although this post is about Cubs history, I will say that this year’s team is going to be better than last year’s. I predict at least 2nd in the division, but I personally think they will take the division. We loyal Cubs’ fans are terminally optimistic.)
The Cubs won the World Series back-to-back in 1907 and 1908 (after making the World Series in 1906 and losing to their crosstown rivals). This team contained 4 Hall of Famers: Mordecai Brown, Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers, and Frank Chance.
Mordecai Brown, also known as “Three-Finger” Brown, was one of the best pitchers to ever play the game. His throwing hand was badly damaged in a farm equipment accident in his youth. Brown, however, was able to use his mangled hand to his advantage. He was able to use the remaining nub of his index finger to put an extra spin on a baseball, resulting in a wicked curveball completely unique to him.
Tinker to Evers to Chance
Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers, and Frank Chance were the Cubs’ shortstop, second baseman, and first basemen respectively. Along with Harry Steinfeldt, they were one of the best infield sets to ever step on the diamond.
All four were great hitters, but they have been remembered in history for their defensive prowess. This infield combination was immortalized in a poem by Franklin Pierce Adams, a Giants fan (the Cubs’ biggest rivals at the time). The poem is entitled “Baseball’s Sad Lexicon.”
Baseball’s Sad Lexicon
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.”
Unfortunately, this ode to the double-play left out Steinfeldt, who by the numbers has as much of a right to the Hall of Fame as Tinker or Evers.
Baseball-statistics.com lists the 1908 Cubs infield as the second best in league history. I disagree, but I’d be interested to see what you think. I’ll give you their Top Ten, but you should go to their list to see the rosters and statistics to make up your own mind.
Baseball-Statistics.com’s Top Ten Greatest Infields
1. 1969 Baltimore Orioles
2. 1906 Chicago Cubs (Which was also the 1907-8 Cubs)
3. 2000 Cleveland Indians
4. 1980 Philadelphia Phillies
5. 1950 Brooklyn Dodgers
6. 1982 St. Louis Cardinals
7. 1999 New York Mets
8. 1959 Chicago White Sox
9. 1968 Chicago Cubs
10. 1998 Baltimore Orioles
Since it is Friday, I will make this a poll question. I realize that this is a major sports nerd poll, and most of you are not the biggest baseball fans in the world. Bear with me, and I’ll give you a non-dead-ball era post soon.
I hope you enjoy the poll. Make your arguments in the comments. Until later friends…