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When the Hitless Wonders Beat the West Siders

As the Cubs and Sox battle on the South Side this weekend, we can only hope for an all-Chicago Fall Classic this postseason. If that happened, it wouldn’t be the first time the teams have faced off in the World Series. In 1906, the baseball world focused its eyes on Chicago for the first-ever intracity series and the only all-Chicago series. 

Chicago Cubs player-manager Frank Chance in batting stance at home plate at West Side Grounds in Chicago’s Near West Side community area, 1906. SDN-051445.

In the era of wooden ballyards, before Comiskey Park or Wrigley Field, it was a South Side versus West Side rivalry. The mighty Cubs piled up 116 victories that year on their way to the National League pennant playing home games at West Side Grounds, now the location of the Illinois Medical District. The upstart “Hitless Wonders,” a.k.a. White Sox owned by “The Old Roman” Charles A. Comiskey, played at South Side Park, which was just a few blocks away from today’s Guaranteed Rate Field.

A batter at the plate during the Chicago Cubs versus the Chicago White Sox World Series at South Side Park, Chicago, 1906. DN-0004874.

Player-manager Fielder Jones led the South Side Nine to the American League pennant with a late season surge that included a nineteen-game winning streak. Future hall of famers Joe Tinker, Johnny Evers, and Frank Chance led the heavily favored West Siders. The Cubs won a preseries coin toss, and their owner, Charles Murphy, decided to play the first game on their home field. Meanwhile, admission prices doubled on the South Side. Fans who couldn’t get tickets could follow the action on scoreboards set up in various venues across the city. With snow flurries during one of the contests, the teams split the first four games of the best-of-seven series. 

White Sox player-manager Fielder Jones stands on the field with baseball umpires O’Loughlin and Sheridan at South Side Park in Chicago’s Armour Square community area, 1906. SDN-052218.

The Sox took the title at home by winning games five and six, outpacing the Cubs with a combined score of 16–9. Baseball historians rate this upset as one of the biggest ever in World Series history. What will happen this October? See more baseball images.

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