Friday, January 11, 2008

19th Century White Sox Cards

Cap Anson was a member of the Chicago White Stockings, but was not a member of the Chicago White Stockings, which shortened their name to the Chicago White Sox.

That was a bit confusing. I apologize. Please, let me explain.

First of all, there are no 19th century White Sox cards. At least not as we know them. The Chicago White Stockings started in 1871. They were one of the many teams that formed after the success of the Cincinnati Red Stockings, which formed in 1869. Chicago chose the white color variant of that name. After the Chicago fire of 1871, the White Stocking finished their season in borrowed uniforms and went on hiatus until 1874, while Chicago recovered.

In 1876, the National League was formed and the Chicago White Stockings were among the first teams in the newly formed league. Sometime during the 1880's the teams nickname changed to the Colts. They were known as Anson's Colts occasionally. The team experienced some lean times during the 1890's and went through additional name changes.

From 1890 until 1905, the team went through names as diverse as the Orphans, the Remnants, Murphy's Spuds and just plain Spuds for a brief time. In 1902, a new nickname emerged and by 1905 it was the name of choice. The name was the Cubs. The name sticks to the team to this day.

So, if the White Stockings are really the Cubs, where do the White Sox fit in? I'm so glad you asked. The White Sox story begins in Sioux City, Iowa. The Sox started out as a team in the Western League called the Sioux City Cornhuskers in November 1893.

After the 1894 season, Charles Comiskey bought the team and moved it to St. Paul, Minnesota. They were named the Saints, and were occasionally known as the Apostles, and enjoyed some success for the next five years.

The Saints moved to Chicago for the 1900 season as part of the National Agreement with the National League, allowing minor league teams to move into cities with National League teams. The Western League changed it's name to the American League and was officially still a minor league. The Saints changed their name to the White Stockings upon their move to Chicago, as to capitalize on the success of the abandoned name of the Chicago National League team.

In 1901, the American League declined to renew the National Agreement and became a major league. Headline editors and scorekeepers shortened the name to the Chicago White Sox and the nickname stuck. The team officially adopted the name in 1903.

I'm not aware of any Sioux City or St. Paul cards from the 19th century. They may be out there, but I haven't run across any. When you bid on that Old Judge White Stockings card, know that you're actually bidding on a Cubs card.


Brad W. said...

The Old Judge card you pictured actually portrays Chicago White Stocking Ned Williamson, a teammate of Cap Anson. It was an error card. To see the real Cap Anson, please visit my website

Steve Gierman said...

I've seen pics of Cap Anson before, but it never registered that this was a teammate and not him. Thanks for the sharp eye and the great info!

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