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The Cubs should put a new version of this flag at Wrigley Field

Beyond commemorating a championship, it’s just plain awesome.

Photo by Chicago History Museum/Getty Images

The photo you see above is of West Side Grounds, where the Chicago Cubs played from 1893 to 1915.

Many of those were very good years for the Chicago National League Ball Club. They won four pennants in five years in 1906, 1907, 1908 and 1910 (and until this year, the 1909 club was tied for the most wins by a second-place team, 104). As you well know, the Cubs won their only two World Series before 2016, in 1907 and 1908, while having West Side Grounds as their home park. Neither title was won at home; even after 2016 the Cubs still don’t have a World Series clinching win on their home field.

Anyway, I post this photo for a couple of reasons. First, this is one of a very, very small number of photos of the exterior of West Side Grounds that exists at all. This looks like the ticket window and main entrance. Here’s a good look at the interior of West Side Grounds, taken during the 1908 World Series:

Photo by Chicago History Museum/Getty Images

I want to turn your attention back to that awesome National League Champions flag that’s attached to the building above the ticket windows (click here for a larger version):

Photo by Chicago History Museum/Getty Images

First — no, the image isn’t backwards. You can see letters at the top of the stadium that are facing the correct way, and a sign above the ticket windows says “No Game To-day.” (“Today” was sometimes hyphenated in that way in that era.) So... it’s the flag that was hung backwards. A reasonable assumption, since this photo is dated 1909, that the flag hanging on the other side of the ticket windows is a World Series champions flag. (Or, as they would have said it in those days, with hubris, “World’s Champions.”) The current address of what you see in this photo is (approximately) 835 S. Wolcott.

The Cubs have placed flags at Wrigley Field, near the center field bleachers, commemorating the 1907 and 1908 World Series champions, and that’s great. But wouldn’t it be fantastic if they could commission a replica of this flag and fly it at Wrigley? And perhaps a matching flag for the World Series win of 1908? Too often, I think modern Cubs fans forget about the great Cubs teams before World War II — they won 10 NL pennants between 1906 and 1945! — and I’ve written previously that I think they should retire some numbers in honor of those long-ago Cubs. This would be a neat way of connecting the franchise’s pre-Wrigley history to today’s.

West Side Grounds was located on the block bounded by Polk, Wolcott, Taylor and Wood Streets west of downtown Chicago. Now, there are medical buildings associated with the University of Illinois at Chicago on that site. In 2008, this historical marker was dedicated to honor a place where long-ago Chicago Cubs thrilled fans for 23 seasons (click here for a larger version):

Al Yellon

C’mon, Cubs. Fly that flag, fly the W at Wrigley Field for the winning Cubs of the early 20th Century. They deserve the honor.