Sports have always been held in high regard in Chicago. It is one of only 10 U.S. cities to have teams from all five of the major American professional team sports (baseball, football, basketball, hockey, soccer). Chi-Town has been named as the Best Sports City by Sporting News three times, in 1993, 2006 and 2010. While it lost out to Rio de Janeiro to be the host city of the 2016 Summer Olympics, it did host the 1959 Pan American Games, the 2006 Gay Games, as well as the 1968 and 1970 Special Olympics Summer World Games and the 2017 Warrior Games.
Here are the teams that make the City by the Lake tick.
Founded in 1926, the Blackhawks are an Original Six NHL franchise and currently compete in the Central Division of the Western Conference. The Hawks have won the Stanley Cup six times (1933, 1937, 1960, 2009, 2012 and 2014) and have called the United Center home since 1995.
Players who’ve had their numbers retired are Glenn Hall, Keith Magnuson, Pierre Pilote, Bobby Hull, Dennis Savard, Stan Mikita and Tony Esposito. Franchise favorites include Doug Wilson, Steve Larmer, Jeremy Roenick, Chris Chelios, Ed Belfour and Tony Amonte. Veteran stars currently leading the team include Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, Brent Seabrook and Duncan Keith.
Chicago’s MLB franchises have storied histories, with the American League Central’s South Side Sox being founded in 1900. The Sox were the White Stockings from 1900 through 1903 before latching onto their current name. The team once called “The Hitless Wonders” have won the World Series three times: 1906, 1917 and 2005. Predating the current Astros cheating scandal was the Black Sox scandal, which involved eight members of the team intentionally losing the 1919 World Series in exchange for money from a mob gambling syndicate.
The Sox retired numbers for Nellie Fox, Harold Baines, Luke Appling, Minnie Minoso, Luis Aparicio, Paul Konerko, Ted Lyons, Billy Pierce, Frank Thomas and Carlton Fisk. The team played at Comiskey Park from 1910 to 1990 and now call Guaranteed Rate Field home. Current stars are José Abreu, James McCann, Yoan Moncada, Tim Anderson, Elroy Jiménez and Lucas Giolito.
The National League Central Cubs were founded in 1870 as the White Stockings and transitioned to the Colts and the Orphans before settling on their current name in 1903. The Cubbies won the World Series three times—in 1907, 1908 and 2016. The Lovable Losers nickname was earned the hard way—by inflicting a 108-year championship drought that was the longest such occurrence in all major North American sports. During that time, there was plenty of heartbreak that included blowing a 17½-game lead to the eventual 1969 World Series champion New York Mets, choking to the San Diego Padres in the 1984 National League Championship Series and laying the blame for choking during the 2003 National League Championship Series against the Florida Marlins at the feet of fan Steve Bartman. The curse was finally broken when the Joe Maddon-led Cubs defeated the Cleveland Indians in the 2016 World Series.
The Cubs have played at Wrigley Park since 1916 and retired the numbers of Ron Santo, Ryne Sandberg, Billy Williams, Ferguson Jenkins and Greg Maddux. Current team leaders are Kris Bryant, Anthony Rizzo, Kyle Schwarber, Kyle Hendricks, Jon Lester, Javier Báez, Willson Contreras and Yu Darvish.
The “Monsters of the Midway” play their home games at Soldier Field and first hit the gridiron back in 1920. They currently play in the North Division of the National Football Conference (NFC). “Da Bears” have won eight NFL Championships (1921, 1932, 1933, 1940, 1941, 1943, 1946 and 1963) and one Super Bowl (XX in 1985). The team was founded by the A.E. Staley food starch company as the Decatur Staleys. George Halas and Edward “Dutch” Sternaman were brought in to run the team. Halas’ influence led to the team being renamed the Bears in 1922, co-founding the NFL in 1920 and having had three separate stints coaching the team to a lifetime 324-151-31 (0.671) record.
Retired Bears numbers are for Halas, Bronko Nagurski, George McAfee, Willie Gallimore, Walter Payton, Gale Sayers, Brian Piccolo, Sid Luckman, Dick Butkus, Bill Hewitt, Bill George, Clyde Turner, Red Grange and Mike Ditka. Former Bears tight end Ditka coached the team to their sole Super Bowl victory which featured fan favorites Jim McMahon, Payton, Willie Gault, Richard Dent, Mike Singletary and William “Refrigerator” Perry. The current team is led by quarterback Mitchell Trubisky, Tarik Cohen, David Montgomery, Khalil Mack, Akiem Hicks and Allen Robinson.
Playing in the Central Division of the National Basketball Association’s Eastern Conference, “Da Bulls” were founded in 1966. Hall of Famer Michael Jordan led his team to six championships in 1991 through 1993 and 1996 through 1998. Jordan is a five-time winner of the NBA Most Valuable Player, with Derrick Rose landing it in 2011.
The Bulls have played at the United Center since 1994 and retired the numbers of Jerry Sloan, Bob Love, Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Phil Jackson, Johnny Kerr and Jerry Krause. Zach LaVine is the only current Bulls player of note worth mentioning.