This Week in 1908 (July 21–July 27)
Two Cubs stars celebrate a birthday this week. Second baseman Johnny Evers (left photo) celebrates his 26th birthday (July 21) and shortstop Joe Tinker (right photo) celebrates his 28th birthday (July 27).
It’s pretty clear that they won’t be celebrating it together, however, because they hate each other and only speak on the field, and only when it’s absolutely necessary.
What caused this unfortunate rift? According to Evers, Tinkers started it in 1907 by throwing a ball too hard at Evers, breaking his finger. Then he laughed…which is of course, unforgivable. According to Tinker, Evers started it because he ditched Tinker once and got a cab without him…which is of course unforgivable.
Those that knew both of them weren’t surprised that they didn’t make up. Evers was known as being tough and humorless. Tinker wasn’t quite as combative, but he was highly superstitious. He figured that if the team was winning despite their shortstop and second baseman loathing each other, it would have been bad luck to make up.
So they didn’t speak to each other for thirty years.
Both men suffered more than their share of tragedy during those years. Evers had a nervous breakdown after a car accident killed his best friend (Evers was driving). He was also cheated out of his life’s savings by a business partner (they owned shoe stores). Tinker became a wealthy businessman, but lost it all in the stock market crash, and his wife committed suicide.
But in 1938, Tinker & Evers were asked to broadcast the World Series together. Both later admitted being more nervous about seeing each other again, than they were about their maiden broadcasting voyage. But when they saw each other, they smiled and hugged. They enjoyed a tearful reunion, and after that became friends once again.
In 1946, they were inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame together (along with the deceased Frank Chance). Evers died the following year, and Tinker the year after that.
In death they are always remembered together, but in life, they spent most of their time apart.
*The Cubs only win twice all week, defeating Brooklyn in back-to-back games. They finish the week with a record of 50-35. They’re two and a half games out of first.
In Pop Culture
*The song “Every Little Bit Added To What You Got” by Arthur Collins is one of the most popular songs in the nation.
In the News
*Lawmakers in Washington create the Bureau of Investigation (July 26). It was known as the BOI until 1935, when it was forever changed to the FBI.
*In Oak Park, Illinois, Little Ernie Hemingway (photo) turns 9 (July 21). He is still five years away from enrolling in Oak Park and River Forest High School. He spends nearly all of his free time doing what he loves most in the world…fishing.
*Gracie Allen turns 6 (July 26). She is living in San Francisco with her parents. Next year, she hits Vaudeville as a dancer…at age 7.
*Future actor Walter Brennan turns 14 (July 25). He dreams of becoming an engineer in his hometown of Swampscott, Massachusetts.
*Carl Jung turns 33 (July 26). He recently published his first book “Studies in Word Association.” After he sends the book to Sigmund Freud, they become good friends.
*George Bernard Shaw turns 52 (July 26). For the last three years his plays have debuted at the Court Theatre in front of King Edward. His Majesty reportedly once laughed so hard during a performance, that he broke his chair.
Price check: Get your very own human hair wig, in red, blonde or black, 18 inches long, for only $1.58.
If you travel back in time and hear the tune to “Happy Birthday to You”, don’t sing the words you know. Those won’t be written until 1924.