This day in baseball: “Baseball’s Sad Lexicon” first appears

Baseball’s Sad Lexicon,” featuring the famous double play combination of “Tinker to Evers to Chance,” was first published on July 12, 1910.  However, the original name of the the poem was “That Double Play Again.”  Six days later, the New York Evening Mail would republish the poem, this time with the title we know it by today, “Baseball’s Sad Lexicon.”

Joe Tinker (left), Johnny Evers (center), and Frank Chance (right), c. 1906-1910 (public domain/Wikimedia Commons)

“Baseball’s Sad Lexicon,” by Franklin Pierce Adams

Cubs shortstop Joe Tinker, second baseman Johnny Evers, and first baseman Frank Chance played together in Chicago from 1902 until April of 1912.  Together, they formed a double play combination that became immortalized in this poem, published in the New York Evening Mail in July 1910.  The piece is written from the perspective of a Giants fan, moaning the luck of his team whenever one of them hits into this double play.  This poem is often credited as being the primary reason that Tinker, Evers, and Chance were elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1946.


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.”

From left: Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers, and Frank Chance (Lawrence Journal World)
From left: Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers, and Frank Chance (Lawrence Journal World)