Frank Leroy Chance
(Husk or The Peerless Leader)
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 0", Weight 190 lb.
- School University of California
- High School Fresno High School
- Debut April 29, 1898
- Final Game April 21, 1914
- Born September 9, 1877 in Fresno, CA USA
- Died September 15, 1924 in Los Angeles, CA USA
A native of California, Chance attended the University of California and planned to become a dentist before embarking on a baseball career. He joined the Chicago Orphans (later known as the Cubs) in 1898 but saw relatively little action, primarily as a backup catcher, during his first five seasons with the team. He became the club's regular first baseman in 1903, hitting .327 and leading the National League with 67 stolen bases. In 1905, he hit .316, led the NL with a .450 on-base percentage, and was named the Cubs' manager in mid-season.
Chance hit .319 in 1906 while leading the league with 103 runs scored and 57 stolen bases, and he guided the club to the NL pennant (falling to the crosstown Chicago White Sox in the World Series). His average dipped below .300 in the next two seasons, but his team went on to win the World Series in both those years. By 1909, he was no longer a regular on the field, but he once again led the Cubs to the NL pennant in 1910. "The Peerless Leader", as he was known, remained the Chicago skipper through 1912, when disagreements with owner Charles Murphy led the team to part ways with him.
Chance moved on to the New York Yankees as a player-manager in 1913 but posted a 117-168 record in just under two seasons with the year. After a stint as manager of the Los Angeles Angels of the Pacific Coast League, he was skipper of the Boston Red Sox in 1923, leading the club to a last-place finish. He was named the Chicago White Sox manager for the 1924 season but developed severe pneumonia before he could take the helm. He submitted his resignation to owner Charles Comiskey, but Comiskey refused to accept it, giving him the opportunity to return to the team when his health improved. However, that never happened; he underwent emergency surgery in April and passed away that September at age 47. Chance was the first of the famous "Tinker to Evers to Chance" trio to die.
Chance had one of the shortest playing careers of any Hall of Famer. He appeared in 17 seasons, although he had 100 games in a season only 6 times. However, he was quite prominent, partly because the Cubs of his time were a truly great team, partly because of the poem about Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers and Chance, and partly because of his role in the Merkle Bonehead Play. His Adjusted OPS was 135, which puts him at #102 on the all-time list (as of early 2007), tied with George Brett and Frank Baker, among others. None of the most similar players to Chance is in the Hall of Fame, but on the other hand none of the most similar players has an Adjusted OPS that is anywhere close to that of Chance (the closest is his contemporary John Titus, who had a 127 Adjusted OPS) as the similarity scores method does not account for era. Although he never led the league in hit-by-pitch, he ranks #25 on the all-time list, finishing as high as #2 in the league twice.
- NL On-Base Percentage Leader (1905)
- NL Runs Scored Leader (1906)
- 2-time NL Stolen Bases Leader (1903 & 1906)
- 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 1 (1906)
- 50 Stolen Bases Seasons: 2 (1903-1906)
- Won two World Series with the Chicago Cubs (1907 & 1908)
- NL Pennants: 4 (1906-1908 & 1910)
- Managed two World Series Champions with the Chicago Cubs (1907 & 1908)
- 100 Wins Seasons as Manager: 4 (1906, 1907, 1909 & 1910)
- Baseball Hall of Fame: Class of 1946
|Chicago Cubs Manager
|New York Yankees Manager
|Boston Red Sox Manager
Year-By-Year Managerial Record
- David Rapp: Tinker to Evers to Chance: The Chicago Cubs and the Dawn of Modern America, University of Chicago Press, Chicago, IL, 2018. ISBN 978-0226415048