Plan A: Play Baseball; Plan B: See Plan A

“Hoot” Evers, so named after a childhood fascination with a Hollywood cowboy, only wanted to be a ball player. This was such an all-consuming goal that he purposely failed his classes at the University of Illinois in order to hasten signing with the Detroit Tigers in 1941. He played baseball throughout his WW2 army service, reportedly turning down avenues for promotion in order to continue his time on the diamond.

He finally made the Detroit starting lineup in 1946, though his debut was delayed two months by a freak injury. Evers somehow managed to break both his thumb and ankle while sliding into second base in a preseason exhibition game. Once on the field he became a fan favorite, repeatedly batting over .300 and producing 100+ RBIs. By 1950 fans were calling his name in a drawn out “Hooooooooooooooooot” that could be mistaken for “boooooooooo” if not for the smiling and clapping in the stands.

My son just read the completely unrelated novel “Hoot” and thinks this card is hilarious.

Hand injuries would accumulate throughout Hoot’s career and were beginning to slow down his performance by the time his 1952 Topps card was being pulled from packs of bubble gum. The 1951 stat line shows this effect with his .224 batting average but the biographical text still has enough highlights to overlook the drop-off.

After his hands could no longer keep him in the lineup, Hoot promptly changed careers from playing baseball to watching baseball. He spent the next several decades in various roles of scouting and player development for Cleveland and Detroit.