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 penned by a well-kwn New York columnist. He has been caricatured as a scrawny, sour man who couldn't hit and who owed his fame to that poem. In truth Johnny Evers was the heartbeat of one of the greatest teams of the 20th century and the fiercest competitor this side of Ty Cobb. He was at the centre 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 a stunning set of reversals and tragedies that resulted in his suffering 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 his position and set the standard for winning baseball.
Dennis Snelling is a member of the Society for American Baseball Research and the Pacific Coast League Historical Society. He lives in Rocklin, California.