Chicago Baseball Exhibit Now Open at Elmhurst Historical Museum

"Sox vs. Cubs" exhibit at Elmhurst Historical Museum explores what it means to be Chicago baseball fan, opens May 16.

Chicago Cub Johnny Evers, shortstop and middle man in baseball's greatest double play combo. | Provided: EHM
Chicago Cub Johnny Evers, shortstop and middle man in baseball's greatest double play combo. | Provided: EHM

Submitted: Elmhurst Historical Museum

With the Windy City Showdown upon us and the Chicago White Sox and Cubs battling it out for city bragging rights, now is an ideal time to look back at the longest running inter-city rivalry in Major League Baseball history. Also dubbed the “Crosstown Classic,” the meeting between these two teams is one of major league baseball's oldest and most storied sports rivalries--when these teams meet, the two sides of the city collide. Chicago may be divided geographically by only ten miles, but the distance between White Sox and Cubs fans is much greater.

The inter-city fan rivalry is the latest focus of Elmhurst Historical Museum, located at 120 E. Park Ave. in Elmhurst, as the history museum proudly unveils a new summer exhibit, Sox vs. Cubs: The Chicago Civil Wars, which is sure to be a hit with baseball fans of any age.  

The hard hitting exhibit examines the rich and unique history of Chicago baseball—a city divided by dedicated fans with something to prove. Sox vs. Cubs: The Chicago Civil Wars runs from May 16 through September 28 and showcases the 114-year history of the rivalry, what it means, how it’s changed--using complexity and objectivity that goes beyond “North Side vs. South Side.”

A team effort

Elmhurst Historical Museum Curator of Exhibits, Lance Tawzer, collaborated with Sox and Cubs experts to bring the exhibit to life. Richard Rothschild, Chicago baseball journalist, author and Sports Illustrated feature writer, authored the exhibit copy.  

Other exhibit partners include both the White Sox and Chicago Cubs clubs who provided access to their fan conventions, broadcasters, and former players.  The budding Chicago Baseball Museum was involved, especially historian, George Castle, who provided insight and research.  

“We have been extremely fortunate to have the support of great local organizations, especially the teams themselves,” Tawzer said. “Visitors will get a real sense of the nature of this cultural rivalry through actual interviews with fans, former players, historians, and media members.”

Straight from the bleachers

First-hand accounts from passionate supporters are included in the exhibit. Visitors will hear them discuss their allegiance and their disdain for the other club. Just imagine what Cubs fans had to endure when the Sox were in the World Series in 2005, for instance.  Engaging stories of early dynasties, curses, ballparks, milestones, and important figures will provide context to the oldest inter-city rivalry in the major leagues. Chicago sports media members weigh in on the intensity and nature of the conflict, and historians examine both sides of the rivalry and how it has changed.

Visitors will have interactive opportunities to explore this classic rivalry in different ways. Highlights include a Trivia Challenge, where fans test their knowledge of each club, and “Greatest Player” where visitors weigh in on the most subjective yet hotly debated baseball topics. To put the clubs’ histories in context, the exhibit boasts an engaging timeline with critical club milestones and historical events.

The fan experience would not be complete without the various merchandise and ephemera lifelong fans preserve. Vintage pennant flags, bobbleheads, and trinkets from yesteryear are showcased along items from present-day, all of which can have deep significance for fans. A playful component of the exhibit are decorated die-hards’ “man caves,” that become nearly shrines to “their” team.

Through a variety of voices, objects, and interactive elements, Elmhurst Historical Museum captures the history and depth of both sides of the rivalry that extends beyond the clubs themselves, and takes on the bigger question of what it means to be a fan.

Special Programs

Take me out to the ball game with special programs and events throughout the summer. The Elmhurst Historical Museum has planned a robust schedule of dynamic programs and events over the next several months connected to the “Sox vs. Cubs” exhibit.  All are sure to be a hit with sports fans of any age.  For more information on these, visit the Elmhurst Historical Museum.

Find out more about the storied rivalry of the “Sox vs. Cubs” in the exhibit, at the Elmhurst Historical Museum, 120 E. Park Avenue, Elmhurst, Illinois from May 16, through September, 2014. Museum hours are Tuesday through Sunday from 1 to 5 p.m., and admission is free. For more information, call 630-833-1457 or visit the historical museum's website.  


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