Baseball trivia! Here's a fun question for you ...

As we watch the Cubs roll through the Cactus League (having won 3 out of their first 4 as of this writing), and continue waiting for the Cubs to bear the fruit of this the 105th year of their rebuilding program, I thought a brief trivia diversion would be in order.

What is the name of the baseball teams that won the first National League pennant in 1876, and the first American League pennant in 1901? Hint:  the use of the word "name" in the singular is not bad grammar.

Don't Google the answer!

Don't look it up in your personal baseball library!

Don't text or tweet your seamhead friend!

I'm going to answer it below, but take a moment and think about it ...

Okay.  Here you go ...

Today's National League was founded in 1876. The winner of the very first league championship was the Chicago White Stockings.

625px-1876_Chicago_White_Stockings

The American League became a major league in 1901.  The winner of the very first league championship was the Chicago White Stockings!

1901_Chicago_White_Stockings

How can this be?

The Cubs were founded in 1870 as the Chicago White Stockings. Here's a picture of them at their ballpark which was located at Randolph and Michigan Avenue on the site now occupied by Millennium Park.

1870 White Stockings at ballpark

Ironically, the site of the long-gone ballpark (destroyed in the 1871 Chicago Fire) is now called Wrigley Square.

The Cubs discarded the name White Stockings in 1890. When the American League was founded in 1900 as a minor league, the Chicago team picked up the name that had been synonymous with Chicago baseball for so long.

In the first photograph, the gentleman at the top is Al Spalding, listed as the manager of the White Stockings (later the Cubs).  He was also their star pitcher.  He would later become famous for a variety of sports related things, but perhaps best known to us for the Spalding Sporting Goods Company that he founded with his brother.

The gentleman wearing the bowler in the second picture is White Stockings (later White Sox) founder Charles Comiskey, who nine years later would build Comiskey Park where the White Sox played through 1990.

We should be proud of our Chicago baseball heritage as basically both major leagues were founded here.

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  • Wrigley Square? No relation? Really?

  • The square was paid for by the Wrigley Co., owned by the very same Wrigley family that owned the Cubs until they sold the team to the Tribune Company in 1981. I doubt that they knew it is the site of the Cubs' (White Stockings') very first ballpark. It must be pure coincidence. The Wrigley's didn't get involved with the Cubs until 1916 when William Wrigley invested in Charles Weeghman's purchase of the Cubs. That's when they moved the Cubs from West Side Grounds to Clark and Addison. William Wrigley secured majority control of the team in 1918, but didn't name the ballpark Wrigley Field until 1926.

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