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Why Does Chicago Have Two Baseball Teams?

The city of Chicago has long embraced baseball. As one of the biggest cities in the United States, they’ve been playing baseball in the town for as long as it’s been around.

Many professional teams have come and gone through the years, but two remain at the highest level of the sport. With so many other cities in North America hoping to have a team, Chicago having two might seem puzzling to some.

Why Does Chicago Have Two Baseball Teams? Chicago has two professional baseball teams with a lot of history. The Chicago Cubs play on the north side of the city, while the Chicago White Sox are on the south side. There’s enough baseball support in the city to have the two teams survive and thrive for over a century. With solid attendance and ownership, neither club is likely to move.

Chicago Cubs

The Chicago Cubs started playing in 1870, and they became a charter member of the National League in 1876. They are historically one of the most well-known baseball teams ever, but winning has not always come easy for them.

The team won back-to-back World Series in 1907 and 1908. It would then take over 100 years to win again, as they beat the Cleveland Indians in seven games in 2016 to win their third World Series title. They’ve won the National League 17 times to go along with their three World Series.

Wrigley Field is as famous as the Chicago Cubs in the eyes of many. It is the second-oldest ballpark in Major League Baseball, and is most notable for its ivy-covered outfield wall made of bricks. The team also plays a lot more day games than the average team, only getting lights in 1988.

Historically, the Cubs have received a lot more fan support than the White Sox. While a variety of reasons play into this, a lot of people believe the Cubs became a truly national team thanks to WGN.

Nearly every game was on WGN during the early years of the cable station, allowing baseball fans to tune in from all over the United States. White Sox games also appeared at times, but they were not as fully supported.

Chicago White Sox

The Chicago White Sox have a long history as a franchise themselves. They first started in 1894, and they became a member of the Western League which evolved into the American League in 1901. Since the very beginning of the World Series era, there’s been a Chicago baseball team in the American League and the National League.

The White Sox also have three World Series titles, with two of them coming over a century ago. They won the first World Series title for Chicago in 1906, just one year before the Cubs would win in 1907. They won again in 1917, but would have to wait until 2005 to win their last World Series title. They have a total of six American League championships in their history.

Up until 1990, the Chicago White Sox had their historic field in Comiskey Park. After being in service for over 80 seasons, the White Sox knew that it was time to look elsewhere. Guaranteed Rate Field opened up, and they’ve been playing there ever since.

The White Sox have embraced the thought that they are the city’s second team in many ways. Fans feel like they have a smaller, yet more authentic fan base. A lot of White Sox fans tend to be strictly from the southside of Chicago, while the Cubs have more national and worldwide appeal.

Are There People Who Are Fans of Both Chicago Teams?

Generally speaking, most baseball fans will pick between the Chicago White Sox and the Chicago Cubs. That being said, they’ve never played in the playoffs, and they very rarely play in the regular season. Without much of a history between the two teams, the rivalry doesn’t exist like it would with other teams.

The Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals are the perfect examples of rival teams in the National League. The two teams have played in the same division throughout history, and they’re both in the National League. Most Cub fans are much more against the St. Louis Cardinals than the Chicago White Sox.

Perhaps the biggest reason why people aren’t fans of both Chicago teams is that they are relatively far apart for being in the same city. The distance is just 11.3 miles, but it can take 45 minutes to an hour to get there during rush hour. Most fans will stick to the team that they are closest to with their support.

Do Any Other Cities Have Two Baseball Teams?

Chicago isn’t the only city in the United States to have more than one MLB team. New York and Los Angeles also have two teams each, with New York having as many as three at one time.

The New York Yankees are the most decorated MLB team in the history of the sport. In the 1950s, they had a built-in rivalry with the New York Giants and the Brooklyn Dodgers. Having three teams in the city seems crazy now, but population expansion wasn’t prevalent enough in the United States at the time. This is the same era when no baseball team was west of St. Louis.

By the mid-1950s, the Giants and Dodgers both planned to move to the West Coast. The Giants moved to San Francisco, while the Dodgers moved to Los Angeles. New York didn’t have to wait long to get a second team once again, as the New York Mets held their inaugural season in 1962.

A year prior, the Los Angeles Angels became the second team in Los Angeles. They’ve gone through a variety of name changes and have technically gone by the Anaheim Angels at times. Their current stadium is in Anaheim, but they still qualify as a Los Angeles team.

How Chicago Supports Two Teams

Chicago is the only city that’s had two MLB teams continuously since the beginning of the World Series era. Both the Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox have plenty of support, and they are never in any real danger of moving away.

The city isn’t about to shrink anytime soon, and there are generations of fans supporting the two clubs every single year. Chicago has always been a strong baseball town, and nothing seems to be changing that.