Monday, January 31, 2011

Favorite Cards: Chicago Chi-Feds

1914 Cracker Jack #115 - Ad Brennan

From 1914 until 1915, there were games played in a third major league called the Federal League. It consisted of eight teams, four in established MLB baseball cities and four in cities that were more fringe, but still had a rich baseball history.

In the inaugural season of 1914, some teams had nicknames and some did not. Chicago was one of the teams without an established nickname, so the sportswriters came up with the Chicago Federals, or Chi-Feds for short, to distinguish the team from the American and National League franchises.

The Chi-Feds managed to land a few choice names from the other leagues, including manager Joe Tinker, who enjoyed success with the Cubs. Others, like Addison Brennan, who had played with the Phillies the past four seasons, were well known commodities. Still others, like Jack Farrell, only had major league experience in the Federal League.

Owner Charles Weeghman, who made his fortune in fast-food lunch counter diners, built a stadium for the new Chicago team in the Lakeview area of Chicago in 1914, called Weeghman Park. When the Federal League folded, Weeghman bought the majority shares of the Chicago Cubs and moved the team into the now vacated stadium, just in time for the 1916 season.

This is one of the very few examples of Chicago Chi-Feds period cards. Federal League players were only issued in a few sets during the league's existence. One of the main reasons why this card is one of my favorites is the positioning of Ad Brennan. You can clearly see the logo on the uniform in the picture.

Add in the iconic status of the set itself and this is a recipe for success.

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