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Charles Weeghman

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Charles H. Weeghman

[edit] Biographical Information

The owner of the Chicago Whales of the Federal League, Charles Weeghman built Weeghman Park (later known as Wrigley Field) for his club in 1914. In 1916, he purchased the Chicago Cubs and moved them into his former club's ballpark. He sold the club to chewing gum magnate William Wrigley Jr. in 1921.

Weeghman was a flamboyant self-made millionaire, who had built his fortune with a chain of lunch counters around Chicago, IL, the forerunner of today's fast food chains. He first attempted to buy the St. Louis Cardinals in 1911, but was unsuccessful, and then became one of the main financial backers of the fledgling Federal League in its inaugural season as a major league. He invested heavily into the Chicago Chi-Feds - also known as Chicago Whales - and the team finished second its first year and won the pennant in 1915. However, the league dissolved after that season, but Weeghman was left with a very valuable asset in the ballpark he had had built for the Chi-Feds. He managed to leverage that - and compensation from major league owners for dissolving the rival Federal League - into an ownership stake of the Cubs, but by then his business interests were faltering, World War I and the ensuing influenza epidemic striking a fatal blow. He died an impoverished man.

[edit] Further Reading

  • Margaret M. Gripshover: "Weathering Spring Training: The Chicago Federals in Shreveport, Louisiana, 1914", in The Baseball Research Journal, SABR, Volume 40, Number 1 (Spring 2011), pp. 25-36.
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