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>>caption: BOBBY "LINC" LOWE<<
The famed double play combination of Tinker, Evers
and Chance first appeared together in a Chicago Cubs
lineup on September 1st of 1902 when the Cubbies split
a doubleheader at the Philadelphia Phillies.
Up from the New York State league, 21-year old
Johnny Evers made his MLB debut on that date at SStop
with Joe Tinker and Frank Chance at the corner infield spots.
Two of these three would switch positions in order to achieve immortality.
Tinker would shift to short and Evers to secondbase with Chance still anchoring
first sack and becoming player-manager in 1905 to help produce the greatest
Cubs teams of all-time.
The Cubbies won the first of three consecutive National League pennants in
1906 when they won a record 116 games in a 155 game schedule, but were
upset by the cross-town rival Chicago White Sox in the World Series. The Cubs
won the flag again in 1907 & '08 when they defeated the Detroit Tigers in the
The Cubs won another NL crown in 1910 when a poem titled "Baseball's Sad
Lexicon" by Franklin P. Adams first appeared in the New York EVENING MAIL
newspaper. It detailed the woe imposed on enemy batsmen by the lethal double
play trio of "Tinker to Evers to Chance."
All three of these infielders would be inducted to the National Baseball Hall of Fame
in Cooperstown, NY.
Incidentally, the keystone duo of Tinker and Evers engaged in an on-field fistfight
on September 14, 1905 during an exhibition game at Washington, IND (then a common
big league money-making practice on in-season off-days). Tinker was angry because
Evers took a taxi to the ballpark, leaving his teammates behind at the hotel. After this
incident these two who communicated so well defensively on the diamond would not
speak to each other again for 33 years.
However, on September 1st of 1902 when Tinker, Evers and Chance first formed
three quarters of the Cub infield, the fourth Cub infielder was a veteran who had already
etched his name in the record books and would go on to become a Detroit Tiger player-
manager and longtime Detroit resident.
DID YOU KNOW that Bobby Lowe played 2Base for the Cubs on 9/1/1902 with Tinker,
Evers and Chance on the Chicago infield?
Born in Pittsburgh, PA just after the end of the Civil War on July 10, 1865, Lowe
was not quite 25 years old when he made his MLB debut on April 19, 1990 for the Boston
Lowe would play 12 years for Boston, helping the Beaneaters win six National League
Championships in an era where, for most of that time, the NL was the only major league.
Lowe led the NL with 613 at-bats in 1894 where he also posted career-highs of 158-R,
212-H, 34-doubles, 11-triples, 17-homers, 115-RBIs, 50-BB and a .346-BA (one of three times
Lowe would hit better than .300).
However, Lowe is best remembered for something else which happened in the 1894
season. Lowe became the first major leaguer to hit four homeruns in a single game on May
30th of 1894 at Boston and did it in consecutive at-bats, another MLB record. In the
process the Beaneaters swept a Wednesday doubleheader from the Cincinnati Reds 13-10
It was in the nightcap that Lowe had his big game, going 5-for-6 with a single, four
homeruns and a half dozen runs batted in before an estimated crowd of 8,000 at Boston's
South End Grounds. The audience was so impressed by Lowe's feat it presented a collection
of $160 in silver coins to Lowe after the game in appreciation for his performance. Two of
Lowe's homers came in a 9-R/B-3rd that snapped a 2-all tie. All four of his homers went over
the cozy leftfield fence, located only 250 feet from home plate. Poor Cincy pitcher Elton
"Iceberg" Chamberlain tossed a complete game to absorb the game two loss as he allowed
20-R/18-ER on 19-H & 8-W with 3-K.
Lowe was a little fella, just 5-foot-10 and 150-lbs, but was a righthand-hitting lead-off man
who had surprising power. Over an 18 year MLB career Lowe hit .273 with 71-HR (a big number
in the dead ball era), 984-RBIs, 1131-R, 1929-H, 230-2B, 85-3B and 302 stolen bases in 1818
After his time in Boston, Lowe spent two seasons with the Cubs. Lowe hit .248 as the
regular 2Bman for the Cubbies on 1902. However, when Chicago acquired former Tiger Doc
Casey to become new 3Bman in 1903, Tinker went to short and Evers to second with Chance
still anchored at firstbase. That made Lowe a utilityman who appeared in only 32 games at
third, second and first for the '03 Cubs.
Chicago sold Lowe to his hometown Pittsburgh Pirates on April 20, 1904. He'd get into
just one game with Pittsburgh, going 0-for-1 at the plate in a pinch-hitting role. Ten days
after "going home" Lowe was on the move again, sold to the struggling Tigers on April 30, 1904.
Although he'd turn 39 years old during the 1904 season, Lowe became Detroit's regular
2Bman and batted .208 in 140 games. He led the A.L. in fielding percentage by a 2Bman at
.964. Also during that year Lowe would get his only big league managing experience.
With the Tigers struggling on the field and at the gate, the near-failing franchise
canned future Hall-of-Fame executive Ed Barrow as manager after a July 23rd, 1904
doubleheader split at Washington. (Barrow would manage the Boston Red Sox to the World
Series Championship in 1918 before becoming the longtime general manager of the New York
Yankees during their glory years.) The Senators were the only team in the American League
below Detroit in the 8-team standings when Barrow was let go.
The veteran Lowe became player-manager of the Tigers, their fourth field boss in the
team's fourth major league season. Lowe bossed the Tigers to a 30-44 record for the final
78 games of the 1904 schedule. The team finished seventh, the same spot it had been in
when Lowe had taken over as manager. Thus, Bill Armour would become Detroit's fifth
manager in 1905.
Lowe, however, was retained as a player by Detroit. Reduced to a fill-in role his last
three seasons as a Tiger, Lowe batted only .207, .193 and .207 again while appearing
in a dwindling 58, 41 and 17 games over his last three big league seasons. In both 1905 and
'06 Lowe was a fill-in firstbase umpire for one game each year.
Lowe did stick around just long enough to be a champion again and was part of Detroit's
first ever AL pennant winners of 1907. With Detroit already having clinched the title and
most of the Tiger regulars resting, Lowe's last big league appearance was in the season-ending
doubleheader loss at the St. Louis Browns on October 6, 1907. Lowe would not get into any
of the five World Series games Detroit played in 1907 against Lowe's former Cubs club as the
Tigers lost four and tied one (a game halted by darkness).
Robert Lincoln Lowe was known as "Bobby" during his Detroit days, but for most of his
playing career was referred to by his shortened middle name nickname of "Linc."
Although his MLB career ended at age 42 in 1907, Lowe did have one more year in uniform.
He was player-manager of the 1908 Grand Rapids Wolverines in the Central (minor) League.
When his baseball employment finally ended Lowe did not return to Pittsburgh, but instead
settled at his final big league stop in Detroit.
Lowe died in Detroit at age 86 on December 8, 1951 and was buried at Evergreen
Cemetery in the city.
Without Casey moving from Detroit to the Cubs and Lowe going from Chicago to Detroit
by way of Pittsburgh in 1904, perhaps there never would have been the famous poetic
phrase, "Tinker to Evers to Chance."
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