Tinker to Evers to…Saier?

 

Vic Saier

Vic Saier

This was originally supposed to be my Memorial Day post (Saier was in the military during World War I), but I wanted to get the mistake cleared up first. So here’s a late post on a former player who served his country (even if it wasn’t in combat).

The most famous, if not necessarily the best, double play combination in Major League history is still Tinker to Evers to Chance. By 1911, the combination was broken up for good. Tinker was still at short.  Evers was out much of 1911, but was back for 1912 and 1913. The real problem was first baseman Frank Chance. By 1911, Chance was 34 and appeared in only 31 games. For the entire rest of his career he would play in only 15 more. Ever wonder who replaced him at first? Let me introduce you to Vic Saier. Victor S. Saier was born in 1891 in Michigan. He was scouted as early as 1908, but not signed. He attended a local Business College, played on the local team, and was signed in 1910 by Lansing of the Southern Michigan League in 1910. He led the league in hits, batted over .300, and caught the attention of the Cubs. They signed him for 1911. He began 1911 as Chance’s backup, but when Chance was injured became the starter at first after failed attempts to draft two of the outfielders as first basemen. He played 73 games, hit .259 with a home run and 11 stolen bases. It wasn’t Chance, but it was good enough to get him the job for 1912. For the next couple of years he was good. He hit .288 in 1912, then had 14 home runs (3rd in the National League) in 1913 to go along with a league leading 21 triples. In 1914, he slugged a career high 18 home runs, second in the NL. He was doing well in 1915, when he injured his leg in a home plate slide. He was out for three weeks. He managed 11 home runs, 11 triples, 35 doubles, and 29 stolen bases, most prior to the injury. He didn’t recover well. His 1916 numbers were down, then in 1917 he was hurt in another play at the plate and was done after six games. He spent 1918 he joined the Army and was tasked with working in a defense plant helping the World War I effort. He resurfaced in baseball in 1919, this time with Pittsburgh. He got into 58 games, hit .223, and was done at age 28. For his career his triple slash line is .263/.351/.409/.760 with an ERA + of 120. He had 775 hits in 865 games, scored 455 runs, had 143 doubles, 61 triples, and 55 home runs to go with 395 RBIs. His WAR is 15.1 (Baseball Reference.com version of WAR). After his career ended, he moved back to Michigan, ran a club in Lansing, and died in 1967. It wasn’t a great career. It also wasn’t a bad career.

Saier's military headstone

Saier’s military headstone

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2 Responses to “Tinker to Evers to…Saier?”

  1. steve Says:

    This is always a great topic..how a team sometimes has to scrounge around to replace a player at a specific positions and other times a team enjoys an amazing string like left field for the Red Sox; Williams to Yastrzemski to Jim Rice.

    • verdun2 Says:

      It’s funny how that works. The Yanks in center field (Combs to DiMaggio to Mantle to Murcer) are much the same way. My Dodgers, on the other hand, have never really replaced Duke Snider. Oh, well.
      v

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