Cubs: Team names before they were called the “Cubs”

CHICAGO - 1888. The Chicago White Stockings team selected to barnstorm around the world pose together in Chicago before departure in 1888. (Photo by Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images)
CHICAGO - 1888. The Chicago White Stockings team selected to barnstorm around the world pose together in Chicago before departure in 1888. (Photo by Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images)
(Photo by Mark Rucker/Transcendental Graphics, Getty Images) /

Chicago Cubs: From 1898-1903 the team had a ton of different nicknames

Of all the different names people had for Chicago’s National League Ballclub in the late 1890s-early 1900s, the one which was most recognized as the “Orphans.” This name was given to them after the team let go of Cap Anson in 1898s. In their first year as the Orphans, the team finished in fourth place while seeing young 21-year old rookie Frank Chance make his MLB debut.

While Orphans was their most popular nickname after Anson left, there were other names given by the press and fans for the team. Some called the team the “Rainmakers” due to them going through a stretch of games that were constantly being rained out. Ironic since rain would play a significant role for them 118-some years later.

According to Steve Johnson’s book, Chicago Cubs Yesterday & Today, the team held their 1899 spring training at a New Mexico ranch, which resulted in them getting calling them the “Rough Riders” or “Cowboys.” In 1900-1903 the press wanted to call them other names. Some tried calling them the “Zephyrs” because of their speed; others called them the “Trojans” to pay homage to Johnny Evers‘ place of origin, and some called them the “Panamas” in because the players wore Panama hats during the 1903 preseason. (Johnson, S. (2008). Chicago Cubs yesterday & today. Minneapolis, MN: Voyageur Press.)

That is a lot of nicknames for just a short period. While they had all these nicknames, they were still widely recognized as the Orphans going into the 1900s. The primary name on baseball-reference for the team is Orphans from 1898-1902.