Infighting Didn't Derail Cubs Dynasty

By Chris Rewers on Friday, March 4, 2011

Cubs manager Mike Quade told reporters Thursday that he didn't care whether Carlos Silva and Aramis Ramirez "hugged it out" in the wake of their dugout altercation earlier this week.

evers.jpg

Johnny Evers (Library of Congress)

Quade also said that he hopes to put the incident "to bed and move forward."
I'm relieved that we will be spared the spectacle of a Silva-Ramirez beer summit and that Quade recognizes that a major league baseball team is not a boy scout troop. There have been many famous examples throughout baseball history of teammates on successful teams who did not get along. There were two notable cases of infighting on the greatest team in Cubs history, a little over a century ago.

Tinker and Evers

Shortstop Joe Tinker and second baseman Johnny Evers were two of the key components of a Cubs team that won four National League pennants and a pair of world championships during a five-year span (1906-10). Tinker and Evers played alongside each other for over a decade, but for much of that time they barely spoke to one another.

On Sept. 13, 1905, during a Cubs exhibition game in Bedford, Ind., Tinker and Evers began taking swings at each other behind second base.

Lee Allen explained how the teammates came to blows in The National League Story (Hill & Wang, 1961):

"The Cubs that day had dressed at a local hotel and were supposed to ride out to the ballpark in hacks. Evers got into a hack by himself and drove off, leaving Tinker and several others on the sidewalk. Tinker was sore, and when he reached the field, he told Evers how he felt. They began jawing at each other in the early innings, one word led to another, and then they fought.

"The next day Joe went to Johnny and said, 'Look Evers, if you and I talk to each other, we're only going to be fighting all the time. So don't talk to me, and I won't talk to you. You play your position and I'll play mine, and let it go at that.

" 'That suits me,' Evers said."

Sheckard and Zimmerman

In 1908, a Cubbie Occurrence nearly ended the career of starting left fielder Jimmy Sheckard.

After the first-place Cubs were pasted 12-6 by the second-place Pirates at West Side Grounds on June 2, 1908, utility infielder Heinie Zimmerman and Sheckard got into a fistfight in the locker room. During the brawl, Zimmerman grabbed a bottle of ammonia and fired it at Sheckard. The bottle shattered between Sheckard's eyes and splattered liquid across his face, nearly causing him to go blind in his left eye. Many of his teammates jumped to Sheckard's defense and pummeled Zimmerman. The Cubs attempted to cover up the incident but the fact that their left fielder missed several weeks during the middle of a pennant race made some reporters suspicious and the cause of Sheckard's injuries eventually was revealed.

Despite the dissension the ranks, the Cubs went on to edge the Giants and Pirates in a tight, three-team pennant race and defeat the Detroit Tigers in the World Series for the second straight year.

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