The White Stockings, a team name that lasted until 1889, served as the Chicago Cubs’ original name. The team was afterward referred to as the “Colts” due to the players’ relative youth (1890-1897).
When the club’s owner declined to extend manager Cap Anson’s contract in 1898, the players became known as the “Orphans” because they lacked a leader (1898-1901).
Frank Selee, the team’s manager, started a massive rebuilding effort after the team’s terrible 1901 losing season (53-86), filling the roster with rookies and young players therefore the name “Cubs.”
Over time, additional names also surfaced. The Chicago National League squad was also known as the Tribe of Selee, the Hartites, the Microbes, the Seleeites, Selee’s Colts, and the Nationals in the early 1900s.
In his 2007 book Chicago Cubs: Tinker to Evers to Chance, Cubs historian Art Ahrens claims that by 1907, the team’s scorecards routinely bore the term “Cubs,” and all publications consistently referred to them as such.
According to John Snyder’s Cubs Journal (2008), Frank Chance, the manager of Chicago, “insisted in 1907 that the team be known solely as the Cubs. Chicago newspapers followed suit.
During the 1907 World Series, when new jackets were given to the players and included a sizable white bear figure on each sleeve, the Cubs nickname was “officially” adopted.