Historic Facts

What’s in a Name?

After creating this blog with the mindset to discuss all things from the past, present and future of our beloved Chicago Cubs, I have had a few readers question the web address title. The address contains the title The Chicago White Stockings, and it appears that a majority of Cubs fans are unaware of the founding history of our Cubbies. What better way to first post “Historic Facts” on this blog than to discuss the founding of our Chicago Cubs!?

The Chicago White Stockings was the founding name for the professional baseball team that would later become known as the Chicago Cubs. The team was founded in 1870. This was before the National League or American League had developed, thus the White Stockings competed against a small, limited number of teams. The team was governed by the National Association of Professional Baseball Players and competed to have the best overall record by the end of the season.

In 1876, the league was re-organized into the National League. The league still held a limited number of teams; eight in the inaugural season, six teams for the second and third seasons, and then back to eight teams until 1891. The World Series had not been created yet, and neither had the post-season, but the team with the best overall record at the end of the season was awarded the National League Pennant. The Chicago White Stockings are credited for having won the first ever pennant in the history of organized professional baseball with a record of 52-14.

The White Stockings best players were infielders Ross Barnes, Deacon White, Adrian “Cap” Anson and star pitcher Albert Spalding. In the inaugural season of the NL, Barnes led the league in batting average with a .429 and Spalding won 47 games. Albert Spalding is also the founder of the Spalding sports equipment chain, which every sports fan knows this chain makes balls for a variety of sports. (This author was also surprised to learn that Spalding was born and raised in Byron, IL; which is the author’s hometown.) Spalding would later take ownership of the ball club. Anson was the first player in history credited with collecting 3,000 career hits and became the first “super star” of baseball. The White stockings would later three-peat as champions, winning the National League Pennant from 1880-1882, becoming one of the top teams of the league.

In 1882, the American Association was formed as a second major league baseball organization to rival the National League. This ultimately led to the creation of the first World Series games starting in 1884. Although unofficially recognized and largely seen as an exhibition match, the games pitted the top team from each league against one another. The Chicago White Stockings competed in two of these matches in 1885 (resulting in a tie with ST Louis Browns) and again in 1886 (losing to ST Louis Browns). In total, the Chicago White Stockings won six National League Pennants and appeared in two World Series games between 1876 and 1886.

In 1890, the Chicago White Stockings changed their name to the Chicago Colts or better known as “Anson’s Colts.” When Anson left the team in 1898, the team name changed to the Chicago Orphans due to the loss of the teams’ super star. The team name was once again changed in 1902 when Spalding sold the Orphans to new ownership and the team became the Chicago Cubs.

So here in a brief historical lesson is the development of what is affectionately known as the Chicago Cubs. I hope this clarifies some confusion as to why the web address for this blog is thechicagowhitestocking.wordpress.com and I hope I provided some interesting insight for our Cubbies.


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