Sunday, February 6, 2011

WSC Vintage: Evar Swanson

Card #34 - Evar Swanson

Evar started his career by lettering in four sports (baseball, football, basketball and track) at Lombard College in Galesburg, Illinois. He was a pitcher in college, who played the outfield between starts. Swanson pitched a no-hitter in college and missed two perfect games by one batter. Evar injured his arm in the spring of 1923, which turned out to be an injury that followed him even after his playing days were through.

Between 1924 and 1927, Evar was a running back in the NFL, playing for the Rock Island Independents, the Milwaukee Badgers and the Chicago Cardinals. The Cardinals had moved their home field to Comiskey Park in 1922, and played their remaining years in Chicago there, except between 1926 and 1928, when they returned to Normal Park to play games. Reports are mixed as to how often the Cardinals actually played at Normal Park after 1922, so Swanson might have actually played in Comiskey Park as a Cardinal.

After Evar's NFL career was over, he switched to the MLB. He first joined the Cincinnati Reds in 1929, but was off the roster in 1930, after an injury shortened season. He was picked up by a St. Louis Cardinals minor league team in Columbus, Ohio at the end of the year and was the starting center fielder for the team in 1931. On September 11, 1932, Swanson was traded to the White Sox, where he patrolled the outfield until the end of the 1934 season, when problems with his throwing arm resurfaced.

In 1929, Evar set an MLB record by circling the bases in full uniform in 13.4 seconds. Many have tried to best it, but the record still stands. A year later, Swanson set the minor league record for circling the bases with a time of 13.2 seconds, which still stands as well. Evar is one of 114 players to have played in both the MLB and NFL.


Play at the Plate said...

That was one fast dude and yet another very sharp custom.

Steve Gierman said...


I had a heck of a time finding Evar in a White Sox uniform. If he hadn't injured his arm, he might have been more of a household name. His arm was so bad that he couldn't teach his sons to throw or even play catch.

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