How did the Chicago Salmon get started?
The Boss Lady, Ellie Carlson, was hired in 1996 to organize a Civil War Encampment for the Mount Prospect, IL Park District. The Director of the Park District at the time had seen an article in a magazine about Vintage Base Ball and asked if she could put together a team for a demonstration match at the event. Boss Lady went to the Mt. Prospect Little League Coaches meeting where she recruited the first team. The men were to wear plain black pants, and she made 19th century shirts and shirt fronts, called shields. She thought the club would just learn the rules, don the uniforms, and demonstrate this early era game for the event.
In the course of researching the rules, The Salmon came under notice of many of the existing Vintage Base Ball teams. They were so excited to have a team in Chicago to play, and started calling Boss Lady asking for matches with her team (which really didn’t exist). The Salmon played four matches in all that first season. 2021 is the 26th season.
Over the years the old, heavy cotton uniforms with shields gave way to a band collar shirt with the sleeves cut off just below the elbow. The Salmon also have several ladies on the team who play in short hoop skirts and bloomers. Although Zeus is the only original player left, The Salmon have added on players that have come to matches or found the club on our website or social media. The roster even includes men and women who were little children when their dads or family friends joined the team and are now full-fledged players. The Salmon say, “We started out as a joke, then we got serious, now we’re a serious joke,” a line shamelessly stolen from The Maverick Brothers, a Chicago singing duo.
For more information, visit Boss Lady's website, elliepresents.com.