This plain-faced image, appearing humbly in black-and-white, relates to a great deal of baseball culture, old and new. Tinker, Evers, and Chance, most of the infield for
’s dominant 1900s team, all played pretty well. Their social significance, however, looms over a simple stat line like the Colossus over Rhodes, casting shadows into the future. As multiple championship winners and poetic célèbre, the teammates became more than legend than substance. People knew them so well that their eponymous phrase came to mean “working smoothly and reliably.” This comes, however, with a mirror role as a sacrificial pop icon for modern critics. As individuals, none played up to Hall of Fame “standards,” itself a font of rich debate for baseball fans and writers throughout the sport’s history. The arguments back-and-forth are a reading snooze for me, but the line between Hall of Fame and Hall of Very Good really lights some people up. Chicago
To circle back to 1908, consider a few other Events of Significance surrounding that year’s World Series.
- Tender 19 year-old Fred Merkle mis-runs the bases (the Merkle Boner) and snatches defeat from the Giant jaws of victory. He went on to play for 20 years, but never outlived that infamous day. “GIANTS
WINLOSE THE PENNANT,” etc., etc.
- Gate attendance proved very low, partly from a
ticket scalping scandal the ownership was implicated in. Sound familiar? Chicago
- “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” written by two gentlemen who’d never seen a pro game, becomes a nationwide hit.
- The Chicago Cubs kick off a century of waiting for their fans.