The success and fame of the Cincinnati
Red Stockings of 1869, baseball's first openly professional team, led
to a minor explosion of openly professional teams in 1870, each with the
goal of defeating the Red Stockings. Some of the new clubs adopted
variants on the name and colors, and it happens that the Chicagos adopted
white as their primary color.
The newly formed Chicago club advertised for players in the New
York Clipperand managed to compile one of the most
formidable band of mercenaries in country.
The club joined the first major league, the National
Association, in 1871. The Chicago White
Stockings were close contenders all summer, but disaster struck on October
8 when a fire began in Mrs. O'Leary's barn on DeKoven Street on the near
south side of the city. The Great
Chicago Fire destroyed the club's ballpark, uniforms and other
The club completed its schedule with borrowed uniforms, finishing
second in the N.A. just 2 games behind, but was compelled to drop out of
the league during the city's recovery period.
A new team with no connection to the old one (with the exception of
also being called the Chicago White Stockings) emerged in 1874.
The team is now know as the Chicago
David Nemec, the tireless 19th Century Baseball
researcher, has also written a novel called Early
Dreams, which takes place during this era and features real-life characters
such as Cap Anson, George Wright, and Henry Lucas.
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The 1871 Chicago White Stockings featuring Jimmy Wood.
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