Chronology:Chicago

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1870.11 Chicago Switches to the Dead Ball, Starts Winning Again

Location:

Chicago

Game:

Baseball

Age of Players:

Adult

"Circumstances prevented any improvement in the organization of the [White Sox] nine until some weeks after their return from their disastrous [New York] tour; finally, however, the nine was re-organized . . . the muffin players' rubber ball was re-placed by a dead ball, and from the[n] . . .the Chicago club has been marked by a series of uninterupted victories, the crowning triumph being the defeat of the strongest nine in the United States in two successive contests."

Sources:

New York Clipper October 29, 1870

Comment:
Richard Hershberger, 150 years ago in baseball, FB posting 10/29/2020:
 
Chadwick on the improvement of the Chicago Club. They wisely took his advice and switched from a lively to a dead ball. Success inevitably followed.
 
Much as I enjoy tweaking Chad for this sort of thing, in fairness it was pretty standard in this era. A newspaper would publish helpful advice to the local club. If the club did something that could plausibly be taken as consistent with the helpful advice, the paper would claim credit for the suggestion. Say what you will about modern sports talk radio, even those guys don't usually claim that the GM turns to them for trade ideas.
 
Does the claim about the deal ball make a lick of sense? It is classic Chad, but there is a kernel of truth. Good and poor fielding teams generally favored a dead or lively ball respectively, on the grounds that a dead ball gave the infielders a chance to show their stuff while a lively ball was more likely to get to the outfield. The Red Stockings revolution was mostly about improved fielding, so they favored a dead ball. As clubs' fielding caught up, they followed suit. The eventual consensus was a relatively dead ball, with later discussions being how live or not, within the range of a relatively dead ball. So as the White Stockings got their act together, it is entirely plausible that they moved to a dead ball. In other words, they didn't get getter because they switched to a dead ball; they switched to a dead ball because they got better. And certainly not because Chadwick convinced them. 
Year
1870
Item
1870.11
Edit

1871.19 Chicago Club Expires A Month After Great Chicago Fire

Location:

Chicago

Game:

Base Ball

Age of Players:

Adult

"BASE BALL.  The Last of the Chicago Club.

At a recent meeting of the stockholders of the Chicago Base Ball Club, where it was by resolution declared that the stock of that club is canceled and surrendered, and a committee was appointed to wind up all the affairs of the club, the following resolutions of thanks and acknowledgement were unanimously adopted. . . " 

Sources:

Chicago Tribune, November 26, 1871:

Comment:

 

From Richard Hershberger, Facebook posting of 11/25/2021:

"150 years ago in baseball: Wrapping up the affairs of the Chicago Club. It was gutted by the Great Chicago Fire and stumbled through the close of the season. Continuing as the city was rebuilding clearly was not in the cards. Say what you will about Chicago businessmen, they do appreciate the formalities. Rather than simply walking away they shut it down properly. Here we have the formal dissolution.

This relates to the trivia question, what is the oldest baseball club still in existence? If we don't count colleges, and if we insist that the club still play baseball, then the candidates are the Braves (by way of Milwaukee) or the Cubs. The Braves were founded in 1871 as the Boston Base Ball Association. The Chicago Club we see shutting down here was a year older. If we can tie the modern Cubs to it, then that is our answer.

The problem is that we see here the original organization formally dissolving. We will next spring see the formation of the organization that will, in 1874, field the professional team that came to be known as the Cubs. The only facts available to argue for continuity between the two is that some individuals were stockholders of both. This is very weak tea. It certainly isn't the standard we apply to other clubs. If we did, it would remove the Cubs' claim, as this standard would also connect the Phillies to the original Athletics, who were founded in 1859. But this would be absurd special pleading. So sorry, Cubs. You aren't the oldest club. You are, however, the oldest still in your original city. That isn't as sexy a first, but it is not nothing."

 

The Great Chicago Fire occurred October 8-10, 1871.  17,000 structures were destroyed, and 300 people were killed.

Year
1871
Item
1871.19
Edit