A “compelling narrative” about three Chicago Cubs legends, the rise of baseball fever, and the emergence of a new America as the twentieth century began (Booklist, starred review).
Their names were chanted, crowed, and cursed. Alone they were a shortstop, a second baseman, and a first baseman. But together they were an unstoppable force. Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers, and Frank Chance came together in rough-and-tumble early twentieth-century Chicago and soon formed the defensive core of the most formidable team in big league baseball, leading the Chicago Cubs to four National League pennants and two World Series championships from 1906 to 1910. At the same time, baseball was transforming from small-time diversion into a nationwide sensation. Americans from all walks of life became infected with “baseball fever,” a phenomenon of unprecedented enthusiasm and social impact. The national pastime was coming of age.
Tinker to Evers to Chance examines this pivotal moment in American history, when baseball became the game we know today. Each man came from a different corner of the country and brought a distinctive local culture with him: Evers from the Irish-American hothouse of Troy, New York; Tinker from the urban parklands of Kansas City, Missouri; Chance from the verdant fields of California’s Central Valley. The stories of these early baseball stars shed unexpected light not only on the evolution of the game and the enthusiasm of its players and fans, but also on the broader convulsions transforming the US into a confident new industrial society. With them emerged a truly national culture.
This iconic trio helped baseball reinvent itself, but their legend has largely been relegated to myths and barroom trivia. David Rapp’s engaging history resets the story and brings these men to life again, enabling us to marvel anew at their feats on the diamond. It’s a rare look at one of baseball’s first dynasties in action.
Winner, Nonfiction Book of the Year, Chicago Writer’s Association
“Connects these baseball stories to larger cultural themes such as social and economic class, the New York–Chicago rivalry, and the emerging media technologies during this period. Highly recommended for baseball fans and those interested in early 20th-century American history.” —Library Journal