Double play combinations are a somewhat popular baseball topic. In the pre-war era, there’s no more famous trio than that of the Chicago Cubs’ Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers, and Frank Chance who were immortalized in a poem written by Franklin Pierce Adams and published in the New York Evening Mail after a Cubs’ double play squelched a Giants rally.
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.”
All three were very good players and wound up in the Hall of Fame.
There are all sorts of pre-war cards featuring the three players. Here are five notable examples:
Frank Chance/Johnny Evers T201 Mecca Double Folders
The 1911 T201 Mecca Double Folders cards featured two players – one on one side and a second on the other. The cards are unique because the same lower portion of a card is used for the top half of each subject. They are coined the ‘Double Folders’ set as the top half folds down, revealing the player on the back.
A Cubs card in the set features both Chance and Evers. Tinker is nowhere to be found but that is because only two players could be featured so he was the odd man out. The card is also nice because of its affordability. Mid-grade cards start at only around $100.
Frank Chance 1923 Lections Error
The 1923 Lections cards are among the more unique 1920s baseball cards around. The cards are rare and often punched with holes in them. Despite usually looking hideous, they are still quite desirable with even very poor cards often selling for over $100.
Chance is the only one of the trio featured in the set and by 1923, he was the manager of the Boston Red Sox. His card, however, features a significant error as he is cited as the White Sox manager. Chance’s cards, even in low-grade condition sell for quite a bit of money. An SGC 10 sold for nearly $1,300 in 2016.
Joe Tinker T206 Print Error
The T206 set is known for its numerous print errors and one lesser-known one features Tinker.
Most of Tinker’s fielding pose cards with his hands on his knees have ‘Cubs’ cleanly across his jersey. However, a few copies have traces of the word ‘Chicago’ underneath the Cubs print, indicating that the card may have originally been intended to feature that jersey variation as opposed to the Cubs one.
The card is quite rare and has fetched big money at times when available. A PSA 2.5 version of the card sold for nearly $12,000 in an REA auction.
Frank Chance / Johnny Evers / Joe Tinker T202 Hassan Triple Folders
If you’re looking for a single card featuring all three players, the T202 Hassan Triple Folders card might be for you.
These unique cards featured two pictures of players on the side (in a modified design of the T205 cards, no less) as well as a black and white action shot in the middle. The card in question has Tinker and Chance on the ends of the card with Evers in the middle sliding into a base. The card is highly desirable and starts around $300 in mid-grade condition.
Frank Chance D304 Bakery Cards (No Team Variation)
Chance is featured in the D304 sets. In all, there were five (General Baking, Brunners, Butter Krust, Martens, and Weber) of these releases cataloged as D304.
Chance is pictured as a member of the Chicago Cubs and his earliest cards have the Cubs name at the bottom along with his name. However, the sets are believed to have been printed from 1911 through 1914 and as players changed teams, some of those names at the bottom were blotted out. Chance went to the New York Yankees in 1913 and, as a result, some of his cards have the Cubs name blotted out.
These cards, names blacked out or not, are expensive in any form. A PSA 2 of this card recently sold for $600 on eBay.