Guide to the Johnny Evers Collection

MSSP 0015


Collection Summary

Title: Johnny Evers collection
Dates: 1906-1976
Collection No.: MSSP 0015
Creator: Evers, Johnny (John Joseph), 1881-1947
Extent: 1 container and 3 flat storage containers; 2 linear feet
Language: Collection material in English
Repository: University of Notre Dame. Hesburgh Libraries, Department of Special Collections. 102 Hesburgh Library, Notre Dame, IN 46556
Abstract: A small collection of manuscripts, photographs, printed matter, and realia belonging to Hall of Fame second baseman Johnny Evers (1881-1947). Much of the material relates to the exhibition games played in Europe in 1924 by the New York Giants and Chicago White Sox, a series in which Evers participated as White Sox manager.

Selected Search Terms

Baseball -- History -- Sources
Baseball -- England
Boston Braves (Baseball team)
Chicago White Sox (Baseball team)
Chicago Cubs (Baseball team)
Baseball players -- United States -- Autographs

Administrative Information

Restrictions: There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Preferred Citation: Johnny Evers Collection, Department of Special Collections, Hesburgh Libraries of Notre Dame.

Acquisition and Processing Note: The Evers collection was donated to the Hesburgh Libraries in 1977, by John J. Evers, Jr., of DeBarry, Florida. Newly arranged and described 2013, by George Rugg. Finding aid 2013, by George Rugg.

Biographical Note

The Hall of Fame professional baseball player John Joseph (Johnny) Evers was born in Troy, New York on 21 July 1881. Like many players of his time Evers was of Irish ancestry; both his paternal and maternal grandparents were born in Ireland. After a single season in the minors Evers was purchased by the Chicago Cubs of the National League (1902). He remained with the Cubs through the 1913 season, a mainstay at second base for teams that won league championships in 1906, 1907, 1908, and 1910 (the 1906-1910 Cubs still have the best composite five-year record in major league history). Evers was one of the deadball era's most celebrated figures; to the public, he was the model practitioner of the "inside" or "scientific" baseball that valued mental abilities as much as physical ones. (Touching Second, an account of the contemporary game "co-written" by Evers and the journalist Hugh Fullerton, did much to further this reputation). Evers was a diminutive man but by all accounts a dedicated, combative player, whose intensity manifested itself in injuries, ejections, and at least one nervous breakdown. He served as player-manager of the Cubs for a single season before moving, in 1914, to the Boston Braves, who made him baseball's best-paid player. As team captain Evers led the 1914 Braves to a highly unexpected world championship. That season, he won the Chalmers Award as the National League's Most Valuable Player. After his retirement as a player Evers had brief stints managing the Cubs (1921) and the Chicago White Sox (1924), without success. In the 1930s he operated a sporting goods store in Albany, but filed for bankruptcy in 1936. He suffered a debilitating stroke in 1942, and died in Albany on 28 March 1947, a year ater his induction into the Hall of Fame.

Scope and Content Note

The collection consists of personal items preserved by Johnny Evers and by his son, John J. Evers, Jr. Many of the items derive from the so-called European tour undertaken by Charles Comiskey, John McGraw, and members of the Chicago White Sox and New York Giants in 1924, in which Evers participated as manager of the White Sox. After playing five exhibition games in Canada, the entourage (which included family members of some players) sailed from Quebec to Liverpool, arriving on 22 October. Games were played at Liverpool on 23 October, and at London on 24 October and 6 November (the latter before the royal family). The teams then left for France, where they played at least one game before recrossing the Atlantic. The tour as originally planned was more extensive, but was cut short; it surely failed in its goal "to try and transplant America's game" to the visited countries. Items in the collection relating to the tour include a scrapbook of European newspaper and periodical clippings, photographs, a program and other ephemera, and Evers' uniform shirt and pants, specially made for the occasion. Other materials in the collection include several short manuscript letters to Evers; additional photographs (many from Evers' years with the Braves, and from later in life); five baseballs, including two team-signed balls of the 1914 Braves; and six medals and other bits of realia. There are also a number of books, including Evers' personal copy of Touching Second, bound in limp leather and stamped in gilt, with marbled endpapers. Also among the books are personal bound copies of Spalding's Official Base Ball Guide (6 vols.: 1902-1904; 1905-1907; 1908-1910; 1908; 1913; 1915); The Reach Official American League Base Ball Guide (3 vols.: 1902-1904; 1905-1907; 1908-1910); and Spalding's Official Base Ball Record (1 vol.: 1908-1910). These volumes are not included in the container list below; they have been cataloged for the Rare Books collections.

Arrangement Note

The collection is arranged in four series: 1) Letters and Documents; 2) Photographs; 3) Printed Matter; 4) Realia. Items within series are arranged chronologically. Typically, there is one item per folder. Baseballs are held separately, within the Department's Autographed Baseballs Collection. Books are cataloged for the Rare Books Collections.

Container List