Play ball! DePaul's place in Chicago sports history

The Blue Demon football team walloped South Dakota 20-0 in a 1933 game played at Wrigley Field. (Image courtesy of Special Collections and Archives)
The Blue Demon football team walloped South Dakota 20-0 in a 1933 game played at Wrigley Field. (Image courtesy of Special Collections and Archives)
Did you know one of Chicago's Major League Baseball teams once used DePaul's Athletic Field as its stadium? Many have heard this snippet of information relayed on tours at Wrigley Field, but it was not the Chicago Cubs who played at DePaul. 

Wrigley Field opened in 1914 as Weeghman Park and was originally the home of the now-extinct Federal League's Chicago Whales, more commonly known as the Chicago Federalists, or "Chi-Feds." Prior to Weeghman Park's opening, however, the Whales played at DePaul. Their opening game took place at DePaul on May 23, 1913 and the team went on to play the entirety of the 1913 season at the university.

DePaul's connection to the northside stadium does not end there. For many decades, Wrigley was the home of numerous sports teams, including the Chicago Bears. DePaul's football team also was one of these teams, playing numerous games at Wrigley each season.

Of course, Wrigley Field is not the only long-standing sports stadium in Chicago. Soldier Field opened in 1924, though it would not become the home of the Chicago Bears until 1970. It served as the home stadium for the Chicago Cardinals, now the Arizona Cardinals, until they relocated to St. Louis in 1959. But, like Wrigley, Soldier Field also served as a playing field for numerous sports and local teams, including DePaul's football team. DePaul played numerous games each season at the stadium, including an annual City Catholic College football championship game against Loyola University.
A President's Pass for multiple DePaul football games during the 1933 season. The last game's location is Cubs Park, otherwise known as Wrigley Field. (Image courtesy of Special Collections and Archives)
A President's Pass for multiple DePaul football games during the 1933 season. The last game's location is Cubs Park, otherwise known as Wrigley Field. (Image courtesy of Special Collections and Archives)

Beyond sports played outdoors, DePaul's basketball team occasionally played at Chicago Stadium, the longtime home of the Chicago Bulls and Chicago Blackhawks, from the 1930s-50s. Unlike the games played at Wrigley and Soldier Field, however, the games at Chicago Stadium were special events. They were generally double headers, with a portion of the ticket proceeds often going to charity. As with football, one of these games was also an annual game against Loyola. Chicago Stadium was eventually demolished in 1995.

While being invited to play a game at Wrigley Field or Soldier Field would certainly be special now, at the time it was a normal occurrence. It also isn't clear how the teams decided where to play. The details surrounding them are somewhat scarce. What have survived over the years, however, are the photographs that fill many of the early issues of the university's yearbook, "The DePaulian."

Though DePaul began as the little school under the L, its relationship with the city of Chicago over the past 120 years is undeniable. Athletics is one of many areas that displays DePaul's strong connections to Chicago history. All you need to do is look back through history.