The Chicago Unions were one of the first Negro League teams to last more than a year. Formed in 1887, the team played in the pre-league era. Among the team's first players was OF Frank Leland, who became famous as a manager and owner in black baseball. Billy Holland and Harry Buckner pitched for the team in the 1890s and Bill Monroe joined in 1899. In 1901 Leland mixed the Unions and the Columbia Giants to form the Chicago Union Giants.