With the debut of the first professional baseball league, the National Association, the Chicago franchise joined up as the "White Stockings." The team went 19–9 and finished second in the league standings. Pitcher George Zettlein started all 28 of Chicago's games and led the NA with a 2.73 earned run average.
Near the end of the season, the team lost its stadiums and equipment when the Great Chicago Fire hit the city. The team was able to finish out the season on the road, but had to drop out of the league while the city attempted to recover. The team would not resurface until 1874.