Joe Tinker

Position: Shortstop
Chicago Cubs, 1902-1912, 1916; Cincinnati Reds, 1913; Chicago Chi-Feds (Whales), 1914-1915
Manager: Cincinnati Reds, 1913; Chicago Chi-Feds (Whales), 1914-1915; Chicago Cubs 1916
Managerial record: 304-308

Joe Tinker is the least known member of the Chicago Cubs' immortal infield trio in the first decade of the 20th century. Thus, there is a strong temptation to believe that he was a lesser player than his two comrades, Johnny Evers and Frank Chance.

Hall of Famer Joe Tinker
Joe Tinker stayed with the Cubs longer
than his cohorts Johnny Evers and
Frank Chance, and may have been
the best fielder of the famous trio.

The actual truth may be that Tinker was the best of the three. He was a superior fielder to Evers and Chance, an important consideration since it was for their alleged skill at executing double plays that the trio gained renown.

Joseph Bert Tinker (1880-1948) was signed to his first professional contract by Denver of the Western League while he was performing with a semipro team in Coffeyville, a town near his Muscotah, Kansas, home. In Denver's thin air he got off to so poor a start in 1900 that he was shipped north to the Montana State League.

A good season with Portland of the Pacific Northwest League in 1901 earned Tinker a berth with the Chicago Cubs the following spring. The Windy City was the farthest east he had ever been in his life to that time, but he seemed at home almost from the first day he arrived.

Initially Tinker played shortstop beside the veteran Bobby Lowe, but when Lowe broke his leg late in the season, a young second baseman named Johnny Evers was summoned to replace him. On September 13, 1902, Tinker, Evers and Chance appeared in their first game together for the Cubs. Two days later the trio recorded their first double play.

Ironically, Tinker was never overly fond of Chance and actually disliked Evers. The keystone pair culminated their brewing feud in a fistfight on the field during an exhibition game in 1905 and subsequently went without speaking to each other for nearly three years. Nevertheless, the Cubs won four pennants with Tinker and Evers anchoring the two key infield positions.

Tinker remained a regular with the Cubs for 11 seasons, longer than either Evers or Chance. In 1913, he became player-manager of the Reds after an off-season trade. Although he hit .317, Cincinnati finished seventh. The following season Joe joined the Chicago Whales of the Federal League as player-manager and piloted them to a pennant in 1915.

His success caused the Cubs to name him their manager in 1916. The job lasted only one year, after which Joe spent several years managing in the minors. In 1946, while Tinker was scouting for the Cubs, he, Chance and Evers were named to the Hall of Fame as a unit.

Here are Joe Tinkers' major league totals:

.263 1,805 6,441 773 1,695 264 114 31 782 336

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