Norman T. Gassette
|Chicago White Stockings President|
Born: April 21, 1839|
Died: March 26, 1891 (aged 51)|
Norman Theodore Gassette (April 21, 1839 – March 26, 1891) was an American baseball executive, president of the Chicago White Stockings for the last part of 1870 and through 1871.
Norman T. Gassette was born in Townsend, Vermont, and lived in Springfield, Massachusetts until age 10, when his family moved to Chicago, Illinois. He was the son of Silas B. Gassette and Susanna P. Martin. Norman attended Shurtleff College in Alton, and received further advanced education from private tutors. On June 17, 1861 he was mustered into the Union army as a private of Company A, 19th Illinois Infantry. Soon transferred to staff duty, by the Battle of Chickamauga he was a first lieutenant, and after that a brevet Lt. Col. After the war he served from 1868 to 1872 as clerk of the circuit court of Cook County. An active Republican, Gassette chaired several campaign committees, including that of Charles B. Farwell for Congress. He joined the Masonic order in 1864, rising to the rank of Grand Commander in Illinois.
On Aug. 9. 1870, the stockholders of the Chicago White Stockings baseball team elected Col. Gassette as president. Prominent Chicagoans had invested a large sum of their money to organize a professional baseball team in Chicago, but the new team, under the presidency of David Allen Gage, seemed to be directionless. Gassette, a prominent Mason and government official, was chosen to right the ship. In the words of the local newspaper, he "commenced the work of weeding out the incompetent material." The White Stockings went on a tear the remainder of the season, defeating their hated rivals the Cincinnati Red Stockings, and claiming the (unofficial) title of best team in the nation. He served as president through 1871. Unfortunately, the Great Chicago Fire of October 1871 put the club out of business. This Chicago White Stockings club later became known as the Chicago Cubs. In 1872 Gassette, as president of the old White Stockings Club, chaired a meeting to revive the team, but after this turned his attention to his other business ventures.
- "The Biographical and Portrait Gallery of Representative Men of Illinois," p. 210. An image of Gassette is in the Chicago Tribune, March 27, 1891.
- Chicago Tribune, Aug. 11, 1870.
- Chicago Post, April 8, 1872.