Baseball in Chicago

  • The ’67 White Sox: “Hitless” Destiny’s Grandchild? By Bryan Soderholm-Difatte

    The 1967 American League race holds the distinction of being The Last Great Pennant Race in major league baseball’s pre-divisional era. The Chicago White Sox contended for the pennant but their historical weakness for not scoring runs doomed their chances.

  • How Good Was the White Sox’ Pitching in the 1960s? By Brendan Bingham

    The 1959 Chicago White Sox won the American League pennant despite a league-average offense. Under manager Al Lopez, the “Go-Go” Sox combined speed, fielding, and—especially—pitching to shatter the New York Yankees’ four-year run of AL championships.

  • Mr. Cub: Ernie Banks By Joseph Wancho

    Ernie Banks joined the Chicago Cubs in 1953 and, for the next half-century, became a beloved Hall of Fame player — the iconic "Mr. Cub."

  • Andy Pafko: Darling of the 1945 Cubs By Joe Niese

    From the moment Andy Pafko put on a Chicago Cubs uniform he was a fan favorite.

  • Mel Almada: The First Hispanic to Homer at Several Historic American League Stadia By Lou Hernández

    Mel Alamada's pioneering major-league career foreshadowed the growth of international baseball stars in future generations and led him to induction in the Mexican Baseball Hall of Fame.

  • Mike Gonzalez: The First Hispanic Cub By Lou Hernandez

    On September 28, 1912, 22-year-old Mike González became the first Hispanic player to don the tools of ignorance in the major leagues with his debut with the Boston Braves.

  • The Windy City–Collar City Connection: The Curious Relationship of Chicago’s and Troy’s Professional Baseball Teams (1870–82) By Jeff Laing

    Both Chicago and Troy fielded strong baseball nines in the baseball’s post-Civil War pioneer days. With the advent of professional baseball after the 1868 season, the fortunes of Chicago and Troy became intertwined by happenstance and the loosely knit structure and highly unstable nature of nineteenth century baseball. Both cities played a major part in the ebb and flow of the national pastime as baseball organized itself into professional leagues.

  • Sputtering Towards Respectability: Chicago’s Journey to the Big Leagues By Brian McKenna

    The city of Chicago, already a hub of growth, became more important in the mid-nineteenth century once the Erie Canal linked it with the east coast and rail lines extended their reach throughout the emerging nation. This was also true in baseball, a sport becoming defined by the formal “New York” rules. Yet as quickly as it created itself, Chicago established its interest in the national game.

  • Memories That Will Never Go-Go By Francis Kinlaw

    A few lines of verse about a pennant-winning team on the South Side.

  • Black Sox on Film By Rob Edelman

    Eight Men Out and Field of Dreams are not the only films to feature the “Black Sox.” One long-lost newsreel film has eluded researchers for decades.

  • Bill Murray’s Prediction By Rob Edelman

    Comedian Bill Murray, a die-hard Chicago Cubs fan, offers an optimistic guess about his favorite team.

  • From the North Side to the Deep South By Francis Kinlaw

    Long before baseball came to the Deep South, one fan relied on the radio dial to bring the big leagues closer to home. 

  • Buying the White Sox: A Comic Opera Starring Bill Veeck, Hank Greenberg, and Chuck Comiskey By John Rosengren

    The sale of Chicago's American League franchise from the Comiskey family to Bill Veeck and Hank Greenberg in 1959 began “a stirring chapter in the history of the White Sox, replete with comedy and tragedy.”

  • Chicago Goes Hollywood: The Cubs, Wrigley Field, and Popular Culture By David Krell

    Chicago is a city of icons. A hotbed of popular culture, the Windy City owns a curriculum vitae rarely paralleled concerning characters, real and fictional, responsible for defining the American experience. Baseball, too, offers fertile territory for Chicago popular culture, especially those myths, legends, and tales involving the Cubs.

  • Of Black Sox, Ball Yards, and Monty Stratton: Chicago Baseball Movies By Rob Edelman

    Across the decades, baseball films with Chicago references have been relatively scarce.

  • Curse of the Billy Goat: An Adaptive Coping Strategy for Cubs Fans By Jeremy Ashton Houska, Ph.D.

    Researchers in the social sciences who have investigated the effects of sports fandom acknowledge the positive impacts of team allegiances on psychological health. When their favorite team performs poorly, however, sports fans can maintain their psychological health by modifying their association with the team.

  • Stories of the White Sox: Farrell, Lardner, and Algren By James Hawking

    The Chicago White Sox of the early twentieth century provided the inspiration and the subject matter for three of America’s greatest novelists.

  • When They Were Just Boys: Chicago and Youth Baseball Take Center Stage By Alan Cohen

    Not long after D-Day in June 1944, Esquire magazine summoned 16- and 17-year-old boys from all over the country to New York for the first Esquire All-American Boys Baseball Game. Chicago was one of 29 cities to send players to this game.

  • The Peculiar Professional Baseball Career of Eddie Gaedel By Eric Robinson

    To the many people that refer to Bill Veeck as the “Barnum of Baseball,” his legacy is associated with a single plate appearance that he orchestrated as a publicity stunt while owner of the lowly St. Louis Browns in 1951. The man who took that plate appearance was Chicago native Eddie Gaedel, who at 3’7” and 65 pounds is the smallest man ever to play Major League Baseball.

  • Palmer House Stars By Leslie Heaphy

    Chicago has a storied history of semi-pro and amateur baseball in addition to the Cubs and White Sox, along with the Whales and American Giants and other African American teams. The Palmer House contributed four teams of hotel employees over the years but only one of those was African American: the Palmer House Stars.

  • Split Season 1981, Chicago Style By Jeff Katz

    As Major League Baseball moved toward a possible players' strike in 1981, the Chicago baseball scene had plenty of drama: the White Sox signed future Hall of Fame catcher Carlton Fisk, the Wrigley family sold the Cubs, and beloved broadcaster Harry Caray moved from the South Side to the Friendly Confines.

  • If Gil Hodges Managed the Cubs and Leo Durocher the Mets in 1969, Whose “Miracle” Would it Have Been? By Mort Zachter

    In 1969, the New York Mets became the first 1960s-era expansion team to win a World Series. En route to that championship, after overcoming a 9½-game mid-August Chicago Cubs lead, Gil Hodges managed his “Miracle Mets” to the National League East title over Leo Durocher’s Cubs. In Chicago, that season has been called the “Miracle Collapse.”

  • The Chicago White Sox, 1968–70: Three Years in Hell By Sam Pathy

    The 1968 season ended the White Sox’ 16-year reign as kings of Chicago baseball. They had outdrawn the Cubs by a wide margin since 1951. In the aftermath, they spent three years in a proverbial hell, marked by one of the worst seasons in team history, 1970. The South Side franchise would continue to struggle to find a permanent equal footing in Chicago.

  • The Top 10 Chicago White Sox Games of the 1950s By Stephen D. Boren

    A look at 10 great Chicago White Sox games from a memorable and successful decade.

  • Ted Lyons: 300 Wins—Closer with a Closer? By Herm Krabbenhoft

    When he finally hung up his spikes, after hurling his last pitch on May 19, 1946, Ted Lyons had accumulated 260 mound victories and “completed more games than any other contemporary starter.” How many more wins might he have had if he hadn't completed so many games?

  • Bibb Falk: The Only Jockey in the Majors By Matthew M. Clifford

    In the old days of professional baseball, players fistfighting on and off the field was not uncommon. Players would scream at each other. Some would tease. Many others were just downright mean. One player in particular earned a nickname that perfectly described his slick dugout demeanor. The handle followed him throughout his days in the major leagues and all the way to baseball cards printed after his death.

  • Expanded e-edition articles can be found online at By SABR

    Read all the articles from the expanded e-edition of "The National Pastime" below.

  • The Game That Was Not—Philadelphia Phillies at Chicago Cubs, August 8, 1988 By Steven Glassman

    Between May 24, 1935 and August 7, 1988, Wrigley Field had hosted 4,193 regular season games, nine World Series games, two League Championship Series games, and three All-Star games, only one of which—a 1943 All American Girls Professional Baseball League contest lit by a small set of portable lamps—was played at night. That all changed on August 8.

  • Lasting Impressions of Harry Caray By Suzanne Wright

    Harry Caray’s lasting impression and impact on American culture transcends that of a simple baseball personality. He has become a broadcasting legend and an icon of Chicago and major league baseball.

  • “Don’t Tell Them any Different”: Don Kessinger Night Caps a Long Career By Mark Randall

    On September 8, 1978, North Side and South Side fans finally found something they could agree on: Don Kessinger. Fans from Chicago’s two storied baseball teams came together to cheer the veteran infielder at Comiskey Park on a special promotion night arranged by Sox owner Bill Veeck to salute Kessinger, one of the lucky few to have played for both the Cubs and White Sox.

  • The Last Best Day: When Chicago Had Three First-Place Teams By Mark S. Sternman

    At the close of play on July 17, 1915, the American League’s Chicago White Sox led the league by 1½ games, the Federal League’s Chicago Whales had a half-game lead, and the National League’s Chicago Cubs were tied for first. The feat of one city having three first-place teams has not since been repeated.

  • Dean of Chicanery: Jerry Reinsdorf’s Plan to Enlist Hank Greenberg to Umpire the Northwestern Law School Student-Faculty Game and How it Backfired By John Rosengren

    Jerry Reinsdorf has always wanted to win, both now and then. When the task of organizing the annual faculty-student softball game at Northwestern University School of Law fell upon Reinsdorf, then the law review’s managing editor, the 24-year-old senior wanted to give his side a legitimate shot at victory.

  • Bears, Cubs, and a Moose, Oh My By Joseph Wancho

    Moose Skowron was a Yankees stalwart for years before his trade to Los Angeles and a chance for revenge in the World Series.

  • A Fall Classic Comedy: Game Six, 1945 By John Rosengren

    Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg went from hero to goat with an unfortunate misplay in left field that nearly cost the Detroit Tigers the 1945 World Series.

  • Silas K. Johnson: An Illinois Farm Boy Who Made Baseball History By Matthew M. Clifford

    The story of Silas Kenneth Johnson, who went down in the history books as the last major league pitcher to strike out Babe Ruth three times in a game.

  • Why did Wrigley, Lasker, and the Chicago Cubs Join a Presidential Campaign? By Mark Souder

    While professional baseball and politics have always been linked, only once has a major league baseball team become a voluntary part of a Presidential campaign. The visible evidence of this happenstance is the 1920 Chicago Cubs’ exhibition game in a small Ohio town against a squad of local semi-professionals called the Kerrigan Tailors.

  • The Western Baseball Tours of 1879 By Brock Helander

    Even before the start of the 1879 National League campaign, several baseball clubs were reported to be contemplating post-season tours of the west. Despite the high cost associated with such undertakings, Chicago decided in April to make the trip. With professional sports still in its infancy, the infrastructure for such tours had to be built and run by the theater industry.

  • There Was Almost No World Series in 1905, Too: How Charlie Comiskey Could Have Ended the Fall Classic Before it Started By Chuck Hildebrandt

    The risk to the credibility of baseball's new World Series was substantial when Chicago White Sox owner Charles Comiskey threatened to keep his team from playing in the postseason — one year after New York Giants manager John McGraw had done the same.

  • The Legacy of the Players’ League: 1890 Chicago Pirates By Gordon Gattie

    Although the Chicago Pirates lasted a single season in the short-lived Players’ League, their central role in facilitating player movement among three different leagues and the impact on overall baseball attendance provide key insights into team and league creation and sustainment.

  • William Hulbert: Father of Professional Sports Leagues By David Bohmer

    William Hulbert created the basic framework within which professional sports in America operate, leaving a profound legacy on the National League and all those to follow.

  • Chicago History Museum’s Baseball Photo Treasure Trove: Chicago Daily News Glass Plate Negative Collection By Mark Fimoff

    The Chicago History Museum houses more than 55,000 images from the Chicago Daily News photo collection — and nearly 15 percent of those are baseball-related, a fabulous resource for historical baseball images. However, not all of the CHM glass plate negatives have player IDs inscribed upon them and a significant number of those photos are misidentified. We will address a small number of interesting cases in this article.