Chicago Unions

Chicago Unions
Chicago, Illinois
League affiliation(s)
  • Independent (1887–1900)

The Chicago Unions were a professional, black baseball team that played in the late 19th century, prior to the formation of the Negro leagues.


Organized as the Unions in 1887, the club was led by Abe Jones 1887 to 1889 and by W.S. Peters 1890 to 1900. In 1899 they lost a series for the western championship to the Columbia Giants, also based in Chicago.

The Unions, along with the Cuban Giants, are the only Negro teams to survive the political and economic crisis that eventually lead to the Panic of 1893. Every other significant Negro team which operated prior to the Panic ultimately ceased to exist. (Holway, p.30)


During 1901 and 1902, Frank Leland created the Chicago Union Giants by hiring many players from the Chicago Unions and Columbia Giants. The Union Giants "were recognized as the top team in the West, but lost a challenge playoff to the Algona Brownies in 1903 for the western championship" (Riley 168). The Union Giants were renamed Leland Giants in 1905.

Franchise continuum

The Chicago Unions and the Chicago Columbia Giants merged for the 1901 season creating the Chicago Union Giants, who later changed their name to the Leland Giants. The Leland Giants then split into two teams for the 1910 season creating the Chicago Giants and the new Leland Giants, who later changed their name to the Chicago American Giants.


  • Holway, John B. (2001). The Complete Book of Baseball's Negro Leagues: The Other Half of Baseball History. Fern Park, FL: Hastings House Publishers. ISBN 0-8038-2007-0. 
  • Riley, James A. (1994). "Chicago Unions". The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues. Carroll & Graf. pp. 168–69. ISBN 0-7867-0959-6. 
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