Chicago's Civil War

A close look at Chicago baseball's annual city series and the fandom it created

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Wednesday Apr 08, 2020

Wednesday Apr 08, 2020

For 40 years, the Cubs and White Sox met nearly every October for a best of seven city series. The games were taken seriously in front of sellout crowds. Players earned raises or lost their jobs based on their performance against their crosstown rivals.
Starting April 22 and continuing each Wednesday, Chicago's Civil War will take an in depth look at these games and the rivalry that they cultivated.

Wednesday Apr 22, 2020

During the latter third of the 19th century, Chicago established itself as a world class city. It was becoming a world class baseball city too with the White Sox joining the Cubs in town. A rivalry was sparked instantly between Owners James Hart and 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.

Wednesday Apr 22, 2020

In 1903, after three years of trying, the Cubs and White Sox get on the field together to play a best-of-15 series. In this episode, you'll get a front row seat to every game (in your imagination, that is). Then, in 1904, the peace established between the leagues is in jeopardy. Thanks to one of the biggest cheating scandals seen in early baseball, so is the city series.

Wednesday Apr 29, 2020

The rules are codified to ensure a World Series is played every year. That means an annual city championship series in Chicago too. In 1906, the two ideas merge as the record-breaking Cubs and the "Hitless Wonder" White Sox meet in the first ever crosstown World Series.

Wednesday May 06, 2020

The Cubs bounce back from their disappointing 1906 World Series loss to establish perhaps the greatest team in National League history. Cubs historian Ed Hartig joins the show to talk about the end of that great dynasty as the White Sox recapture the city's interests with a brand new stadium and one of the great postseason performances of all-time.

Wednesday May 13, 2020

While the White Sox build a new contender, turmoil in the Cubs' front office sours their play on the field in the 1910's. A new challenger takes the opportunity to steal some of the west side fans as the Federal League pops up and builds a stadium on Chicago's north side. Sportswriter Sean Deveney joins the show to examine the impact of the upstart league and Kent State history professor Leslie Heaphy discusses some of the star Negro Leaguers who never got a chance to play in the city series.

Wednesday May 20, 2020

After the Cubs moved to the North Side of the city, a strong geographic rivalry took hold between the north side Cub fans and south side White Sox fans. In this episode, we take a look at how that rivalry developed and how each region of the city began to round into shape. Peter Alter of the Chicago History Museum and historian Richard Lindberg join in to break down the history of Chicago and how baseball fits into all of it.

Wednesday May 27, 2020

Between 1917 and 1920, there is no city series. That's because both the Cubs and White Sox have built pennant winners. But with the country on the brink of war, controversy surrounds the 1918 and 1919 seasons. Sean Deveney breaks down a potential fix in the 1918 World Series and Jacob Pomrenke and Richard Lindberg try to make sense of the confirmed fix of 1919.

Wednesday Jun 03, 2020

After a four year hiatus, Chicago's Major League Baseball teams resume their annual challenges and the White Sox try to resume their annual domination, but get a little pushback. Both the Cubs and the Sox had their share of success stories between 1921 and 1926, and their share of tragedies. The tales of Grover Cleveland Alexander, Dickey Kerr and Frank Chance are explored, among others. As are the blow by blow recaps of the annual city series.

Wednesday Jun 10, 2020

In 1929, the Cubs lived up to everything they had been building towards, setting attendance records and winning the national league. Their magical season was sandwiched between some of the most exciting municipal series ever played in Chicago.
Historian Ed Hartig returns to discuss how the Cubs took over as the city's darlings while the White Sox stumbled. And the early 30's also marked the deaths of a few Chicago legends, who are remembered in this episode.

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