Frank Chance

Position: First Baseman; Catcher
Chicago Orphans (Cubs), 1898-1912; New York Yankees, 1913-1914
Manager: Chicago Cubs, 1905-1912; New York Yankees, 1913-1914; Boston Red Sox, 1923
Managerial record: 946-648

Born in Fresno, Frank Leroy Chance (1877-1924) was one of the first native Californians to achieve stardom in "The Eastern Game," as it was then known.

Cal McVey, a member of the legendary 1859 Cincinnati Red Stockings, observed him catching for a semipro team. On McVey's recommendation, Chance was signed by the Chicago Orphans in 1898 and made the club as a backup receiver. Nicknamed "Husk," his size worked against him, as he lacked the necessary agility in back of the plate.

Hall of Famer Frank Chance
Frank Chance guided the Chicago Cubs as a player-manager in the early 1900s.

It took the canny Frank Selee to recognize that Chance was playing the wrong position. Selee switched Frank to first base in 1902. At the outset Chance opposed the move, even threatening to quit. When he hit .327 in 1903, his first full season as a regular, and then swiped 67 bases the following year to lead the National League and set a modern season record for first basemen, however, his catching ambitions were forgotten.

By 1905, the Orphans had long since come to be called the Cubs and were about to take their place among the premier teams in baseball history. Along with stationing Chance at first base, Selee had nurtured two young keystoners, second baseman Johnny Evers and shortstop Joe Tinker, who were soon to join Chance in becoming the most celebrated infield trio in the game's history. In July 1905, tuberculosis forced Selee to step down as manager. His last act was to appoint Chance his successor.

Under Chance's guidance, the Cubs won four pennants in the next five years and their only two world championships. When the club won a record 116 games in 1906, Chance's nickname of Husk gave way to the name "The Peerless Leader."

Although only 31 years old at the finish of the 1908 season, Chance was never again a full-time player. He began to be plagued by headaches, a result of many beanings.

Reduced to a bench role, Chance was fired after the Cubs finished third in 1912. The Yankees immediately hired him in the hope that he could instill some spark in what to that point had been a listless team, but Chance quit after less than two seasons. In 1946, Tinker, Evers and Chance were all inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Here are Frank Chance's major league totals:

.296 1,286 4,293 798 1,272 200 79 20 596 405

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