The two major league teams that call Chicago home, the Cubs and the White Sox, are typically linked to the city’s baseball heritage. But the history of baseball in Chicago actually spans a wide range of competition.
Amateur teams from Joliet and Lockport played in the earliest game ever seen in the Chicago area in August 1851.
The Union Baseball Club was founded in Chicago in 1856; it’s August 1858 matchup with the Excelsiors received the club’s first mention in local publications.
After the Civil War, baseball’s popularity grew quickly in Chicago. There were 45 amateur teams playing in the city by 1867.
By 1870, games including corporation teams, youth teams, and amateur teams were being covered by Chicago’s media.
The city’s eight strongest clubs agreed to band together to form the Chicago City League in 1887, encouraged by the rising attendance at games between the top-flight amateur teams.
These teams entered the ranks of semiprofessional baseball after agreeing to split the gate receipts made at the enclosed ballparks with the players.
The Chicago City League’s popularity peaked in the nineteenth century in 1890, but it was discontinued following the 1895 campaign when the best clubs decided to play independent teams with more lucrative schedules.
From 1900 to 1910, semi-pro baseball in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs saw a steady increase in both the level of play overall and the number of spectators visiting the city’s dozen enclosed ballparks.
The West Ends, the Gunthers, and the Logan Squares, three-storied semipro teams from Chicago, were all organized at this time.
The industrial leagues and the amateur baseball ranks in Chicago both continued to grow in a similar manner. Before softball gained popularity as a leisure activity, Chicago’s amateur baseball league served that purpose.
Newspapers in the city reported on matches in a variety of leagues supported by institutions such as churches, businesses, fraternal orders, banks, hardware stores, and jewelers.
The African American Leland Giants were one of many teams to develop as a result of baseball’s racial segregation.
The Chicago City League resumed play in 1909 with six teams, three of which were referred to as “professional” organizations.
The Logan Squares and Rogers Park played baseball’s first successful night game under artificial lights on August 27, 1910, earning Chicago a special position in baseball history. The game took place at Comiskey Park.
Which Team Is Older White Sox or Cubs?
The Chicago Cub was established in 1876 making it the oldest club in Chicago. The white Sox formerly Chicago White Stockings was established in 1900.