Why Chicago has two professional baseball teams

In 1901 and for several years after, Chicago was the second largest city in the US. However, the reason for the city having two baseball clubs is not solely due to its size. Prior to regular air travel, most major league teams were concentrated in the eastern and midwestern regions of the country, with many cities having more than one team. With the formation of two leagues in 1901, several cities had representation in both leagues.

New York had three clubs (Yankees, Giants, Brooklyn Dodgers) until the latter two moved to the west in 1958. Boston had two clubs (Braves and Red Sox) until the Braves moved to Milwaukee in 1953 and later to Atlanta. St. Louis had two clubs (Cardinals and Browns) until the Browns moved to Baltimore in 1954 and became the Orioles. Philadelphia had the Phillies and Athletics until the A’s moved to Kansas City in 1954 and eventually to Oakland, California.

The existence of two baseball teams in Chicago is not a matter of chance, but rather a result of the slow shedding of secondary clubs in smaller cities due to the western expansion and increased accessibility of air travel. The two Chicago teams, the White Sox and Cubs, have both been supported by the city’s residents. They represent different communities, with the White Sox playing on the grittier, more diverse South Side and the Cubs on the more affluent North Side with a primarily white fan base. Nonetheless, both teams are a part of Chicago.