Episode One, Wherein a New League is Established and a Gauntlet Thrown Down

During the latter third of the 19th century, Chicago established itself as a world class city. As the calendar turned to 1900, it was becoming a world class baseball city too with the White Sox joining the Cubs in town. A rivalry was sparked instantly between Cubs owner James Hart and White Sox boss Charles Comiskey, making an eventual competition between the two teams inevitable. John McMurray, the chair of SABR’s Deadball Era Committee joins this week’s show to talk about the formation of the AL and the start of city series all around baseball.

Extra Notes

  • Prior to 1903, there had never been an official interleague postseason series in Major League Baseball. The World’s Series that was played between the National League and American Association between 1884 and 1892 was arranged by the teams and not officially sanctioned because there was no official governing body.
  • From 1894 to 1897, the National League’s top teams played a postseason series for the Temple Cup.
  • The Chicago Pirates, who predated the Pittsburgh Pirates (in name, anyway) by one year, went 75-62, playing in an early version of South Side Park, and outdrew the National League’s White Stockings in the 1890 season.

Sources and generally good reading*

The First World Series and the Baseball Fanatics of 1903 by Roger I. Abrams
Total Ballclubs: The Ultimate Book of Baseball Franchises by Donald Dewey and Nicholas Acocella
Autumn Glory: Baseball’s First World Series by Louis P. Masur
Cubs Journal: Year by Year and Day by Day with the Chicago Cubs Since 1876 by John Snyder
White Sox Journal: Year by Year and Day by Day with the Chicago White Sox Since 1901 by John Snyder

*Many books were used to research features of several episodes of this podcast. Each book will be listed only once.

Featured Songs

“MMMBop,” by Hanson
“The Entertainer,” by Scott Joplin
“Hello! Ma Baby,” by J. Lawrence Cook
“Sleeping Beauty Waltz,” by Pyotr Tchaikovsky
“Maple Leaf Rag,” by Scott Joplin
“Ciribiribin,” by The Platinum Collection Band
“Jingo,” by Edwin Gale


Unless otherwise noted, photos come courtesy of the Library of Congress

Charles Comiskey
Charles Comiskey
State and Madison
State and Madison in downtown Chicago c. 1900
National Commission
The National Commission, including (L-R) Harry Pulliam, Garry Herrmann, Ban Johnson and secretary J.E. Bruce