Chicago City League

The Chicago City League was a minor league baseball league based in Chicago, Illinois. The Independent level league played with teams based entirely in Chicago. The league played in 1887, from 1890 to 1894 and 1909 to 1910 as a minor league. In the era of segregated baseball, the 1909 and 1910 leagues were integrated, with the Leland Giants joining as a member.

Chicago City League
ClassificationIndependent
SportMinor League Baseball
Inaugural season1887
Ceased1910
PresidentUnknown
No. of teams8
Country United States
Most titles2 Leland Giants (1909, 1910)

HistoryEdit

The Chicago City League began minor league play in 1887. The 1887 league member teams are unknown.[1]

The 1890 Chicago City League played with six team members. The Chicago Brands, Chicago Franklins, Chicago Garden Citys, Chicago Rivals, Chicago West Ends and Chicago Whitings were the six league franchises. Records and standings are unknown.[2]

The Chicago City League continued play in 1891 with the same six franchises remaining.[3]

The 1892 Chicago City League added two teams. The 1892 league members were the Chicago Brands, Chicago Crystals, Chicago Franklins, Chicago Garden Citys, Chicago Lake Views, Chicago Rivals, Chicago West Ends and Chicago Whitings.[4]

The same eight teams continued Chicago City League play in the 1893 season.[5]

The 1894 Chicago City League reduced to six teams. The 1894 league played with the Chicago Brands, Chicago Franklins, Chicago Garden Citys, Chicago Lake Views, Chicago Rivals and Chicago Whitings as the member teams. The Chicago City League disbanded after the season, in part because the league's better teams could schedule games independently and make more profit.[6][7][8]

The Leland Giants played regular exhibition games against Chicago City League teams, integrating the league games.[9][10][8]

In February, 1909, former Chicago White Sox player Nixey Callahan, owner of the Logan Squares team in Chicago, petitioned the National Commission for a working agreement for his team and other teams in Chicago. This occurred a year after major league stars Ty Cobb and Tommy Leach had approached Callahan about the possibility of leaving their teams to join the Logan Squares. The major leagues formally recognized player contracts with the Chicago clubs.[11]

In the 1909 and 1910 seasons, the Chicago City League played again as an Independent minor league. The exact teams in the final two seasons are unknown, but the league was integrated, as the Leland Giants joined the league in 1909. Other league members of the reformed league reportedly included the Anson's Colts, Logan Squares, the Gunthers, the West Ends and Rogers Park. Cap Anson owned the Anson's Colts team.[12][13][7][8][14]

It was reported that the Leland Giants won the 1909 Chicago City League championship by 7.0 games with a 31-9 record. The Leland Giants then played a three-game series against the Chicago Cubs in October, 1909. The Cubs won the first game 4–1 on October 18, 1909. With a 9th inning rally, the Cubs won the second game 6–5 and then the Cubs took the final game 1–0. The games were held at Gunther Park, located at 4701 North Ashland Avenue. Today, Chase Park is located at the site, on the corner of Ashland Avenue and Leland Avenue.[15][16][17][18]

A Cuba based team, called the Stars of Cuba had been barnstorming in Chicago in 1909 and 1910. In July, 1910, it was reported the "Chicago Baseball League" as it was formally known, had barred member teams from playing against outside "colored baseball teams," including the Cuban teams. The ban did not include the member Leland Giants.[19]

On August 27, 1910, the Logan Squares and Rogers Park played a night game, using a temporary lighting system. The Logan Squares won the game, 3–1, with 3,500 in attendance. Callahan played center field for his team in 1910 and led the league in stolen bases with 38, while hitting .333. On October 31, 1910 the Chicago Cubs defeated the Logan Squares 3–1 in an exhibition game.[11]

It was reported the Leland Giants won the Chicago City League championship again in 1910 and the Chicago Cubs declined the offer to play the Leland Giants after the 1910 season.[15][16][8]

In June, 2017, the Chicago Cubs honored the Leland Giants of the Chicago City League, wearing Leland Giants replica uniforms in a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates.[17][8]

 
1910 Leland Giants

Teams by seasonEdit

  • 1887: Unknown
  • 1890: (6) Chicago Brands, Chicago Franklins, Chicago Garden Citys, Chicago Rivals, Chicago West Ends, Chicago Whitings
  • 1891: (6) Chicago Brands, Chicago Franklins, Chicago Garden Citys, Chicago Rivals, Chicago West Ends, Chicago Whitings
  • 1892: (8) Chicago Brands, Chicago Crystals, Chicago Franklins, Chicago Garden Citys, Chicago Lake Views, Chicago Rivals, Chicago West Ends, Chicago Whitings
  • 1893: (8) Chicago Brands, Chicago Crystals, Chicago Franklins, Chicago Garden Citys, Chicago Lake Views, Chicago Rivals, Chicago West Ends, Chicago Whitings
  • 1894: (6) Chicago Brands, Chicago Franklins, Chicago Garden Citys, Chicago Lake Views, Chicago Rivals, Chicago Whitings
  • 1909: (6) Anson's Colts, Chicago West Ends, Gunthers, Leland Giants, Logan Squares, Rogers Park
  • 1910: (6) Anson's Colts, Chicago West Ends, Gunthers, Leland Giants, Logan Squares, Rogers Park

[20]

StandingsEdit

The Chicago City League's yearly standings and team records are unknown. It was reported the Leland Giants won the league championship in 1909 and 1910, with the 1909 team winning by 7.0 games, with a 31-9 record.[15][16]

BallparksEdit

  • The exact ballparks are unknown. Reportedly, the 1910 Leland Giants played home games at a Auburn Park, located where Wentworth Gardens is today. Today, the address is 3770 South Wentworth Avenue, Chicago, IL.[21][18][8]

Notable alumniEdit

Baseball Hall of Fame alumniEdit

Notable alumniEdit

See alsoEdit

Chicago Garden Citys players
Chicago Whitings players
Leland Giants players

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "1887 Chicago City League". Baseball-Reference.com.
  2. ^ "1890 Chicago City League". Baseball-Reference.com.
  3. ^ "1891 Chicago City League". Baseball-Reference.com.
  4. ^ "1892 Chicago City League". Baseball-Reference.com.
  5. ^ "1893 Chicago City League". Baseball-Reference.com.
  6. ^ "1894 Chicago City League". Baseball-Reference.com.
  7. ^ a b "Baseball". www.encyclopedia.chicagohistory.org.
  8. ^ a b c d e f Moser, Zack. "The Legacy of the Leland Giants".
  9. ^ Mallory, Patrick (2013). "The Game They All Played: Chicago Baseball, 1876-1906". Loyola University Dissertations ecommons. Chicago, Illinois: Loyola University.
  10. ^ "Rube Foster | Encyclopedia.com". www.encyclopedia.com.
  11. ^ a b "Logan Squares – Society for American Baseball Research".
  12. ^ "1909 Chicago City League". Baseball-Reference.com.
  13. ^ "1910 Chicago City League". Baseball-Reference.com.
  14. ^ Fleitz, David L. (2005). Cap Anson: The Grand Old Man of Baseball. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Company. p. 346. ISBN 0-7864-2238-6.
  15. ^ a b c Terry, Don. "PRIDE AND PREJUDICE". chicagotribune.com.
  16. ^ a b c "Chicago's forgotten link to Black baseball". The Daily Journal.
  17. ^ a b "Cubs, Bucs to honor Negro Leagues on Friday". MLB.com.
  18. ^ a b "Leland Giants | Ravenswood- Lake View Historical Association".
  19. ^ "Agate Type". Agate Type.
  20. ^ "Chicago City League (No Classification) Encyclopedia and History". Baseball-Reference.com.
  21. ^ "Wentworth Gardens | The Chicago Housing Authority". www.thecha.org.